Do You Have Perfect, Everlasting Love?

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Jeremiah 31:3

In this Old Testament scripture, God speaks to the Nation of Israel about his plan to redeem them from their captivity in the future. Inspirationally speaking, God’s love for humans extends to everyone, and it’s why he sent his Son to die for our sins.

Our misunderstanding of God’s love leads us to question all the wickedness we see in the world. Why the death? Why the abuses against human life? Why doesn’t he make everything perfect like him? According to the scriptures:

  • God is longsuffering with people (Numbers 14:18; 2 Peter 3:9)
  • God is extending his mercy upon the lost (Ephesians 2:2-4; Titus 3:3) 
  • He’s giving people time to accept his Son (John 6:44-45) 
  • God is allowing the righteous (in Christ) and the wicked to coexist on earth (Matthew 13:29-30)
  • God has an appointed time for reaping the harvest of saved souls (Revelation 14:14-16)

Some have experienced hurt; others fear the possibility of heartache. But we must realize that God is the only person able to provide us everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) that is so perfect it casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we place this level of expectation on another to love us, we miss the reality that they are only human – not perfect.

Shift your world view on what love is and seek God’s perspective. Pray for those who love you the best way they know how (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and other Christians) and are trying to overcome their shortfalls. Ask God for his wisdom to know those who have no desire to learn or try and maintain a safe distance until they want to know God’s way to love.

God is the only perfect, everlasting love.

If You Remember

Remember the kindnesses of the Lord. Failure is not on his resume. When he moves, it’s in his own timing; when he answers prayers, it’s according to what he purposes for us in the situation. Although we fail each other regularly-the Lord our God never does.

Sometimes we have to be reminded of the history found in God’s Word on his faithfulness toward those who are HIS, before we are able to remember his care for us during our lifetime. The best way to prick your memory is to read the challenges faced by the many children of God in the Bible who came before us. These His-stories unleash our temporary blindness and work to bring to the forefront our own historical memory stones of the works God has done in our life in the past. Just as he forgives us repeatedly for our shortcomings, he will deliver us from the snares we get ourselves into … if we REMEMBER…

And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

Genesis 30:23 KJV

Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

Joshua 1:13 KJV

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

Psalm 63:5-6 KJV

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-13 KJV

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Hebrews 13:7-8 KJV

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Jude 1:17-18 KJV

Grown Up Christians

It’s not about age, it’s about spiritual maturity

Ephesians 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In 1787, walking out of Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked the question as to whether or not we had a republic or a monarchy? Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our nation has struggled to keep a republic ever since.

In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul challenged the church at Ephesus to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The challenge is “if you can keep it.” UNITY and PEACE in the body of Christ are two things that every member of the body must strive to KEEP. Satan knows how difficult this can be, so what he does is work to sow discord and division through doctrinal, political, and racial strife.

While the world will always struggle with these things, the body of Christ was established to demonstrate what a UNIFIED and PEACEFUL BODY looks like to a lost world. When we allow the things of this world to infiltrate Christ’s body, then we have become a friend of the world, and the scripture says:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Paul gave a solution to our delima:

Ephesians 4:14-16
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

It’s time for us all to GROW UP!

Ray Stewart is Senior Pastor of Grace and Truth Baptist Church in Independence, MO. Devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, he sees the church as a place … “Where the People are the Church”

What God Saw in Me

God’s word is our mirror

Gladys Wilborn © March 25, 2021. All rights reserved.

I was recently moved by a post a sister-in-Christ sent out to our text group. It gave a different perspective on the opening verse of the Book of Esther regarding Queen Vashti. In short, this queen’s husband summoned her to be put on display with the rest of his kingdom as a source of pride in all that he possessed. For this king, his queen was a beautiful possession he wanted to show off to his princes.

This sister then referenced a similar scenario found in Job 1, wherein God offers up Job as someone in his kingdom worth showing off to his wayward son, Satan. In verse 10, God says, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man…

The question posed by my sister-in-Christ was this: Are you a showoff? Does God see something in you that he wants to show off to others?

It was time for a session of spiritual self-examination.

The first thing that came to mind were questions. For example, when you go to the doctor’s office they hand you a list for you to check off personal information about yourself, i.e., your name, birthday, ailments, medicines you take, etc. The purpose is to give them an overall view of your physical health status.

The questions that came to mind were similar in that they were meant to give an idea of my spiritual state of being. To examine myself, I wrote down questions and then went to the Bible for answers.

  • Am I being loyal to God?

Psalm 119:59 – “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

  • How is my attitude?

Psalm 119:60 – “I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

  • Am I seeking God in the word?

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  • Is God my trust?

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

  • Am I praying?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.

  • Am I being stirred by his word?

2 Timothy 1:6 – Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

  • Am I quenching the Holy Spirit?

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Quench not the Spirit.

I wanted to take this test to see my spiritual state and to be reminded that what God saw in me was the workmanship of His Son. God saw me saved by faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed, transformed, sanctified, made righteous, holy, and Spirit-filled.

God saw me as part of a local church, growing in my new life to be Christ-like, using my spiritual gift/talents, serving in the body, giving financially and unselfishly of my time and energy, sharing the faith, walking in the Spirit, clothed in the armour of God.

In my self-examination, I was able to see what God saw in me – someone who was daily being made perfect in Jesus Christ

Joseph: A Picture of Remaining True

When a man’s ways please God…

It starts from birth.  Children start out tender and sensitive to their environments.

Genesis 37:4 (KJV)

And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

  • A parent’s affection or lack of affection begins the building blocks of their foundation. When parents show favoritism to one child more than others it sets up an ungodly competition and causes discord between siblings. Every child should feel loved by their parents, even when they make poor choices and/or behave in ways not pleasing.
  • At our spiritual birth, we are hated like Joseph was, because of God’s love and favor towards us. Satan, once the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-15), hates us because we have becomes God’s heirs to the throne, the place he wanted to be, and the reason he was kicked out of heaven. And because he hates us, he continually seeks to make us stumble and fail at pleasing God so he can accuse and shame us before God as he has been shamed. The Story of Job is our picture of this truth.

 Don’t expect everyone to rejoice in God’s plan for you.

Genesis 37:8 (KJV)

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

  • God has a plan for every Believer’s life. There are ones common to all of us such as “to love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37), and to ‘go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19-20).
  • Your service gifts are specific to you and how God has shaped you to be. Not everyone will be able to accept God’s vision for how He is using you to serve. So, don’t let other’s ridicule or rejection of sharing Christ and serving Christ affect you in a negative way.
  • Jesus was hated for proclaiming himself as the Messiah and saying he was sent by God the Father to do the will of His Father, even though it was true. Don’t expect to get a pass on being/doing what God is shaping you for, because Jesus didn’t, and he was Messiah (John 10:30-32).
  • Don’t feel bad when people reject the truth you speak from God’s Word. They have been blinded, and only God can remove the cover from their eyes. It’s our job to provide the torch that is lit by the power of God’s Spirit within us.

031219-HolyBibleLessons on our character, resisting temptation, unfairness, patience and God’s faithfulness.

Genesis 39

  • 1-5 – (v2) the Lord was with him; the Lord made him prosperous (v3, 23; it is God who gives us power to get wealth – Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.; Psalm 1:3And 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 doeth shall prosper.);
  • 6b) He was a goodly person (He practiced living right… Proverbs 16:7When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.)
  • 7 – He was tempted to sin;… 1 Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • 8 – He refused to sin;… – 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
  • 9c – He shows discretionhow then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? [Discreet: Prudent; wise in avoiding errors or evil and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; cautious; wary; not rash] (also, Genesis 41:33, 39; Mark 12:34And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.)
  • 10 – He resisted the temptation (hearkened not unto her) (James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)
  • 11 – He didn’t avoid the temptation – (Proverbs 4:14-1614 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.)
  • 12 – Yet, he was delivered (And she caught him by his garment, … and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. [God will deliver us: 2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:]

green click pen on a white graphing notebook

[Eternal security is found “in Christ” and, there is a plan already in place to guide you to that road:  Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:12, 10:9; 1 John 1:9]

BE INTENTIONAL: Honor Those Called to Duty

Spiritually empowered Shepherds understand the full dynamics of the battle & develop well-trained troops

Our nation recognized its veterans this pass Saturday. Many businesses offered free services to military persons who are serving or have served this country. It is an honor that bears year round observance.  As an Army veteran, I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to be used in preserving the freedoms this country enjoys! To those who gave so much more than just their time and service I say – THANK YOU – GOD BLESS YOU – GOD KEEP YOU!

Today, I want to honor another group that has been called to dutyThe Good ShepherdThe PastorI firmly believe God is the only Commander-in-Chief who directs one to this very important office and God directs and guides the Shepherd in the abundance of his duties toward the sheep.  Without God operating from the very seat of the Shepherd’s heart, it is easy for the church to be infiltrated by those who have today, have crept in unawares, to cast shame upon the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:4 (KJV) – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moses gives us an awesome picture of what the Shepherd’s mission is – to bring a people out of bondage. Moses was called to bring a nation out of bondage, which in itself is a far cry from just managing a congregation of 50-3000 people. His call was simply stated:

Exodus 3:10 (KJV) – 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Egypt is a picture of the world, and Moses was called to pull this great nation out the world, which is a picture of bondage.  No true Shepherd nonchalantly throws his hat into a ring like this shouting, “pick me, me, me, pick me!”  A true Shepherd spiritually discerns and recognizes that there is an overwhelming responsibility appointed to those in this position, and he bombards heaven with his prayers for confirmation. Moses was described as one who was very meek and faithful.  I wonder if in addition to his fear of being rejected by his people for his past, if a part of his reluctance was also his experience with the inherent difficulties of getting sheep to follow directions.

Today, I want to honor those Shepherds who, totally dependent on God for guidance and instruction, organize their bodies through the teachings of the bible, to the mission ministries, into a fitly joined body working together to accomplish the main goals of ministry.  I have observed some qualities I associate with good Shepherds I’ve admired and been under:

They Have A Heart For Making Disciples – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

They Devote Themselves To Studying The Word Of God – Acts 6:3-6 (KJV)

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

They Sacrifice Their Lives For The Ministry – Acts 20:23-25 (KJV)

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Their Ministry Is Christ & Mission Centered – 2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (KJV)

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Their Ministry Is Focused On Reconciling The Lost – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (KJV)

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

They Strive To Maintain A Blameless Ministry – 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (KJV)

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

They Build The Ministry Through Servanthood – Ephesians 4:8-16 (KJV)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Their Ministry Endures Through Hardships – 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV)

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Believers are the sheep of the congregations where we worship and learn the ways in which God desires his children to develop their Christ-likeness and impact the world that surrounds us.  We stumble, we go astray, we are afflicted, but God uses his Shepherds to draw us back to the way, the truth and the life. We are no different than the Nation of Israel in the wilderness:  we complain; do our own thing; do our dirt; and then, cry out for God to deliver us from the error of ways.

If you think it is easy to Shepherd people, I question if you understand the full picture given in the wilderness experience for both the shepherd and the sheep.  I want to leave a picture from the wilderness experience in the hopes that there would be a greater honor associated and demonstrated daily to those who answered the call of duty to Shepherd God’s people, and who do so with a heart sold out entirely to building the spiritual kingdom of God; not a kingdom on earth.

True Shepherds don’t want to be put upon a pedestal and/or treated as kings. True Shepherds are Christ servants serving God’s people to expand the kingdom of God.  True Shepherds train men, women and children to be dedicated, faithful, and steadfast soul winners.  True Shepherds look for open doors in the community to serve and share the gospel message of redemption.  And, True Shepherds thrive on going beyond the four walls into the mission fields to minister in the word of reconciliation.

To the True Shepherds Called to Duty

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HUMBLE SERVICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DAILY SACRIFICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATED LEADERSHIP

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVANT’S HEART

THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THE CALL TO DUTY!

Psalm 106

We as Sheep…

Sometimes …

  • Lack spiritual discernment – v.7a
  • Forget God’s mercy of before – v.7b
  • Provoke God – v.7c

Yet God …

  • Saved us for his namesake to prove his might – v.8
  • Leads us through dry land and valleys – v.9
  • Protects and redeems us from our enemy – v.10

We then …

  • Believe his words and sing his praise – v.12

But we …

  • Again forget his works and his counsel – v.13
  • Lust after the world’s offerings – v.14
  • Gain the world, but lack grace and spiritual comfort – v.15
  • Exchange God’s glory for other gods – vv.19-20
  • Forget yet again – vv.21-22
  • Despise his provisions & word – v.24
  • Complain more & listen less – v.25
  • Join ourselves to the unrighteous – v.28
  • Provoke our Shepherds to do them a disservice – vv.32-33
  • Mingle with the works of the world – vv.33-39