The Immutability of God

Now what does that exactly mean?  Immutable means: Fixed, set, established, doesn’t change, constant, static, enduring, permanent.  I absolutely love this!

God’s unchanging nature has always been one of the most precious qualities to me.  He will not change.  He cannot change.  He isn’t loving today and hateful tomorrow.  He doesn’t forgive me today and hold a grudge against me tomorrow.  He isn’t kind today and evil tomorrow.  He cannot change.  It isn’t in His divine nature, friend.  Isn’t that comforting to know?

Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.”

Verse 17 goes on to say, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.”

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Psalm 107:8-9 says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  For He satisfied the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

That’s the character of the God I serve.  He is good.  He is merciful.  He is just.

“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.”

 ~ I John 4:7-8

He is loving.  These Scriptures demonstrate and reveal to us the unchanging character of God.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and for ever.”  ~ Hebrews 13:8

He will not change.  He cannot change.

He has loved us with an everlasting love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

When my circumstances change, my God does not.  When my seasons change, God remains constant.  When my bank account changes or my relationships change, God is steadfast, unmovable in His love and grace for my life.

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”  ~ Psalm 18:1-2

I challenge you today, friend, to dig into the Word of God and see God’s character for yourself.  “O, taste and see, that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8). Do not neglect the Scriptures because the task seems tedious.  Our lives can become so hectic and fast paced that we lose sight of the true source of our strength.  Get into the habit of daily reading the Word of God and not merely checking off a reading list.  God is more interested in your spiritual growth than how many chapters you’re rushing through each day.  Read His love story to us and watch your spirit soar and your walk with Christ grow in ways you never knew were possible!

Blessings, my friend!  May we continually grow in His grace.  And may you be reminded of God’s constant character and steadfast love.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Longsuffering

Galatians 5:22-23 mentions nine gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the day is:

Longsuffering.  What in the world does that mean?  Patience.

Ooooh.  This is not a fun fruit, is it?

Who likes to wait in the fast paced world in which we live?  Nobody!

Who loves going through the storms of life?  Not me!

Who enjoys when circumstances are less than stellar?  No one!

So, then, why do we need to be patient or longsuffering?

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”    

  ~ James 1:2-4

Nobody likes to talk about patience.  It’s kind of like a parent of a small child advocating eating veggies.  Yuck.  Candy tastes so much better!  However, will it help the child to grow into a mature adult?  No.  Patience is a lot like those veggies.

We don’t like life’s messy spots, but it’s those times that help us to grow and mature into the men and women of God we are meant to be.

So, how do we get patience?  We gain it by trusting God during the storms of life that He holds all things in His Sovereign hands and that He promises to work all things together for our good and His glory.  Trust.  That’s how we get patience.

Trust, even and especially when we don’t know which direction things will wind up going in our lives.  It could go really well and all of our earnest prayers will be answered.  Or… it could end in less than our ideal scenario and we will have to dig even deeper in our faith.

Trust is a lot like love in that regard.  We love unconditionally.  We must also trust God with reckless abandon.  Why?  Because He’s trustworthy.  No one knows the future.  Trust is required.  We can either trust in ourselves, however we have no super powers to control all things.  Or … we can trust in our Creator, who is not only omniscient but omnipresent.  He knows all things and is every where.  I choose to trust in our Creator who can make all things new in His timing and His way.  His thoughts are not our thoughts.  His ways are not our ways.  No.  They are so much higher.  He is the Potter and we are the clay.  We must allow Him to mold and shape our lives into the masterpiece He desires.  Does the clay dictate to the Potter what he should be?  No.  The Potter is in control at all times.  And so it is with us, friends.  God remains in control.  Even when life appears to be spiraling out of our control.  That’s when we hand the reins over to our Creator God and watch what He will do with our lives.

Yes, let patience have her perfect work so we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Are you willing to trust God with your life today?  He can be trusted.  He is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother.  And He is crazy about you.  His love is everlasting and unconditional.

Sometimes the process to get to where we need to be is painful, but the outcome will be so worth it!

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians admonishing them to walk in the Spirit so they wouldn’t sin.

Some in the church were getting hung up on circumcision and whether it could grant them salvation.  Some said you hadn’t received salvation without it.  They needed guidance.  They were entangled in legalism.

Paul summed it up simply in Galatians 5:14:

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Verse 16 goes on to say:

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

There are nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

Today, we will look at the first fruit, love.  What does it mean by fruit?  Think of the Christian life as a tree.

Psalm 1:3 says it beautifully:

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doth shall prosper.”

Jesus said in John 15:2: “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

John 15:4 goes on to say, “Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Isn’t that the truth?!

When I feel my “love cup” is empty or nearly spent, I ask God to please fill it up with His love.  I know that I can only truly love others with the love that He gives me.  The Bible says that my righteousness is as filthy rags.  There is nothing good in me or in my natural ability, apart from the blessings of God in my life.  Therefore, I realize that I am desperately dependent on God to help me to love others.  It is only through His power and His supernatural ability being demonstrated through me, that I can love.

My love grows weary.  My love gets worn out.  My love is tested.  My love is measured.  My love is lacking and falls short.

But, God’s love?  His love knows no bounds.  It is limitless. God’s love endures forever!  His love is from everlasting to everlasting.

When our love cup runs dry and those around us are pushing us to our limits, just ask God to refill your love cup.  He’ll do it.  I always ask God to help me to love others the way He would.  It is easy to love those who are lovable.  It’s not so easy to love those who are mean, disrespectful and rude.  However, we should not repay evil for evil.

Galatians 5 is teaching us that in order to avoid succumbing to sin, we must bear the fruits of the Spirit.  These are attributes of God’s very nature.  As believers, we, too, can demonstrate God’s nature when we walk in love.

I Corinthians 13 is called “The Love Chapter”.  I encourage you to read the entire chapter but I will quote verses 4-8, 13:

“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunted not itself, is not puffed up.  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seekers not her own, is not easily provoked, thinkers no evil.  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things; hopeth all things; endureth all things.  Charity never fails…And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.”

Perhaps as you read through these verses, you can think of a way your love cup has suffered drought in your own life.  Just ask God to help you and to bless you with grace and the ability to see others through His eyes.  It will change your love walk.  When we humble ourselves for a moment and ask for God’s help, He is faithful.  He will not turn us away.  No.  He loves when His children come to Him and will surely fill our lives with the love we need in order to reach those in our world.

May we fill our minds and hearts with God’s Word in such a way that His love shines through to all those around us.

“And the greatest of these is love.”

 

Christmas

Corporations spend countless funds on advertising to impress on us how the latest product will enhance or change our very existence.  Or maybe the newest Mercedes will suddenly grant the esteem and respect you well deserve.  Or maybe your kids will love you so much more if they find the latest and greatest toy under the Christmas tree.

You cannot turn on the radio or television this time of year without being bombarded by advertisements for everything under the sun.  It’s rather sickening to be honest.  Shameless pandering to the open hearts and wallets of the season.  I’m purposefully avoiding Amazon and certain online sites for the time being, lest I get sucked into buying for the sake of the deal.  There’s honestly nothing more I need.

Sometimes pause is in order.  What are we celebrating?

Christmas has become a complex time of year for many.  We don’t want hurt feelings over gift giving.  We have to keep up appearances and decorate our homes to the hilt.  We have to bake fifteen dozen cookies for the school.  We have to mail out two hundred Christmas cards to our nearest and dearest friends and family, complete with a family photo and newsletter. Everything must be perfect.  So much pressure!

That first Christmas in Bethlehem was anything but perfect.  There was no room in the inn for Mary and Joseph and the greatly anticipated birth of their baby boy.  But, God always makes a way for His plan to be born.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  ~ Luke 2

 

And, so here’s wishing you much peace and joy this Christmas season!  May we focus on the tiny baby in the manger who became flesh to take on the sins of the world rather than be distracted by all this world heralds as certain pure bliss.

Jesus, Immanuel (God with us).  A simple message of love, hope and redemption.  He did not arrive in a neat package with a crisp, red bow and the perfect gift tag with calligraphy writing.  No, he emerged bathed in humility and wrapped in love.

Christmas is a celebration of the day love entered the world for you and for me.  So thankful Jesus came.

” For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

~ Isaiah 9:6