Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Parable on Hell


This is the last post of a three part series on “Which Hell do You Believe in?” The first two parts are linked below. We began talking about near death experiences (NDE’s) which brought into question the Hell that was sometimes described. The first part discusses several Bible verses on death and Hell. The second discusses difficult passages on Hell, and this part discusses a parable on Hell.

Third Passage: The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Luke 16:22-24 “and it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by angels into Abrahams bosom, the rich man also died and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off with Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said Father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. And Abraham said, son, remember in your lifetime you received good things and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted and you are in torments.”

Some say this was an actual occurrence, but it is listed in with a bunch of other parables Jesus told them. It’s safe to say it is a parable. As with most parables, it is full of symbolic imagery. Symbols mean something. They reveal a deeper reality. I want to point out a few of these symbols from the passage above.

*The rich man was buried. The beggar was not, and was most likely customarily thrown into Gehenna (a place in the Valley of Hinnom) where garbage and bodies were burned.

*Both Lazarus and the rich man, who is not named, were in Hades, but in different sections. The name Lazarus means “God is my helper.” He is also the only person that is named in a parable, and this may suggest he was a godly man, though his circumstances were unfortunate. 

*The rich man had an extravagant life of luxury, yet a hollow life of self indulgence. Lazarus had a life of pain and anguish. Yet now, the rich man was in anguish while Lazarus rested in “Abrahams bosom.”

*”Abrahams bosom” isn’t an actual place. The phrase indicates that where Abraham the father of faith is, are the righteous who have died.

*The flame is a metaphor of a burning, consuming experience. The rich man realizes this place of darkness and aloneness is now his state until the final judgment. He realizes how selfishly he has lived his life and how careless and thoughtless he has been towards others, and it consumes him.

*The torment here is not physical torment, but rather mental or spiritual torment. Despair and loneliness can be quite a torment, and He is alone and “shook up” that he is now in this place with no hope.

*The water is a symbol of relief. It’s interesting that it’s his tongue he wants cooled.

*The chasm dividing them is a symbol that nothing can change, his fate is complete. There is no possibility of change.

It may surprise you to learn that the rich man was not in hades because he was rich, nor was Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom because he was poor. At one point in this parable the rich man has a moment of care and asks that someone warn his brothers, who are still alive, so that they will not end up in the same place. This request is denied because it will not work. We know it won’t work because of the example of Christ. Many followed him throughout his ministry, but who was still with him at the cross? Many were only there because of the miracles but left when things got difficult.  What of the other Lazarus whom Christ raised from the dead? It was a messianic miracle, but instead of recognizing that, they wanted to put Lazarus to death again. 

No, if they cannot hear Moses and the prophets, they will not believe if someone came back from the dead. His Word is the most convincing proof. We can therefore assume that in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Lazarus believed Moses and the prophets and this is what determined his final place. There will be rich men and poor men in both places. 

As an example, below are some other symbolic passages in the Bible. 

And “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” The tongue is so set amongst our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. James 3:6

“I am the door.” If anyone enters by me he shall be saved and will go in and out and shall find pasture. John 10:9

“You are the salt of the earth” but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Matthew 5:13

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

And there are many more and they are all meant to convey a deeper meaning. 

I think I am going to stop here. All parables are full of symbology. I think my readers understand what I am saying and I hope you will look into these things on your own. Don’t take my word for it, but check it out for yourselves.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, September 25, 2023

Difficult Passages on Hell


In the last post I covered the topic “Which Hell do You Believe in?” This is the second part of that topic  and here I look at a few difficult passages regarding Hell.
Most of our teachings today on Hell were strongly influenced by Greek philosophy. Picture, if you will, people tortured in blazing fires by grotesque looking monsters cruelly attacking them. You’ve no doubt seen the paintings illustrating this Hell. 

Augustine was one such person who embraced the Greek mindset on Hell, whose teachings are adhered to by most professing Christians and Catholics today. However, Athenagorus (127-190 AD), the Anabaptists (Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish, Baptists, Independents, Quakers), Justin Martyr, Didache, Rabbi Hillel and even the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls (collected by the Essenes) all thought differently based on their understanding of scripture. So we are in respectful company. 

Let’s have a look at these passages. 

First passage:

Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. “
(Read 43-50 for context)

This “Hell” is Gehenna which is found in the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem, where garbage and sometimes bodies were thrown in the fire, and what wasn’t destroyed was eaten by maggots. The scripture above is referenced from Isaiah 66:24. 

Isaiah 66:24 “and they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of men who have transgressed against me. For their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh. 

* they are looking at corpses of men. The dead bodies of the wicked. They cannot be both dead and alive. 

* the fire & worms in Gehenna do not stop until the trash and bodies are completely destroyed. Since the trash is continually added to Gehenna, the process never ends. The fire will not be quenched while the wicked are burning, but it will go out when there is nothing left to consume. 
For more info, check out Biblehub.

This Hell is not the Hell for dead souls, it is a place on earth where bodies were burned and eaten by maggots until they are gone, though more were always added. 

Second passage:

Revelation 14:11 “The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night who worship the beast and his image and receive the mark of his name.”

This reference to smoke is also used in Isaiah 34:10-15. It is a temporary action. Eventually animals take over, and the passage talks about complete destruction leading to a wasteland. The fire does its job and nothing is left. 

Verse 10 of Revelation 14 refers to the wrath of God which the wicked will suffer on earth for their wickedness. It is not everlasting torment. 

Isaiah 34:10 “It shall not be quenched night and day. The smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste, nothing shall pass through it for ever and ever.”

Psalm 37:20 “they shall vanish, like smoke shall they consume away. (Speaking of the wicked)

Here we have them vanishing like smoke and being consumed. There is an end. 

We do seemingly have a problem with the words “forever and ever.” Surprisingly, there is no word in the Bible corresponding with our word “eternal,” which we use as “absolutely without end.” These words should therefore never have been translated in this way. 

Two words that are mistranslated as forever and ever and their correct definitions: 

“Olam” = long duration, antiquity, futurity

“Aion” = a space of time, an age

These do not refer to an everlasting, without end time period. So things are not quite as they seem. I hope this clarifies for you what Hell is according to scripture. Unfortunately some meanings are lost in translation. It takes a bit of research to find the truth sometimes. 

Next post we will look at a Parable on Hell. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Which Hell Do You Believe In?

Near death experiences (NDE’s) seem to abound on youtube. I sometimes like to watch them to see how well they line up with the Bible, especially their experiences in hell. Often they describe grotesque, smelly beings punishing people. I haven’t died and come back personally, but the Bible does speak on heaven and hell to a degree. Hell particularly is a topic most people don’t look into because it seems morbid. However, some understanding is good even though there are difficult passages on it in the Bible. A quick overview of words translated as ‘hell’ is helpful.

Biblical words translated as ‘Hell’

Sheol- translated as ‘hell’ 31 times in the OT

          - translated as ‘the grave’ 31 other times.

           -translated as ‘the pit’ 3 times

Hades - this is the Greek word for the Hebrew word ‘Sheol.’ It is translated ‘the grave’ in most contexts. 

Gehenna- in the NT this word is often translated as ‘hell.’

               -Gehenna was a geographical location just outside of Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnom. Garbage was thrown into the fire there, and what wasn’t destroyed was eaten by maggots. The fire and worms in Gehenna do not stop until the trash is completely destroyed. Since trash is continually added, the process goes on. However, it does end over time and all is burned up to ashes and exists no more.

Tartarus - appears only in 2 Peter 2:4. This place, referred to as ‘hell’ is reserved only for the angels who sinned and are held in chains until judgment.

Infernus - a Latin word often translated as ‘hell,’ means ‘being underneath.’

Abaddon - a synonym of hell meaning ‘destruction.’

Just by looking at the meanings and how they are used gives clarity on what we’re talking about when we’re referencing the hell we believe to be the abode of the dead. In fact, many mean ‘the grave,’ rather than the eternal punishing place of the dead. 

Next we need to look at the history of where specific teachings came from. Again, I don’t want to belabor this topic too much, but I will cover a few better known theories briefly. 

Augustine: was strongly influenced by Greek belief in eternal torment. His views were officially accepted by the council of Ephesus in 431 AD. His teachings are adhered to by most Catholics and Protestants today. This Greek mindset also believes that the human soul is immortal and can never cease to exist. (Supported by Tertullian and John Calvin).

The Anabaptists: these included the Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites and contributed to the emergence of the Baptists, Independents and Quakers. They rejected what came through the Roman church and believed the ungodly would perish in hell and cease to exist. (Supported by Justin Martyr and Didache)

Rabbi Hillel:lived about the same time as Jesus. He taught that unrepentant sinners would be eternally destroyed, though he also maintained that one extreme class of sinners would suffer ‘to ages of ages.’ (Supported by the Essenes, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls).

What does the Bible say?

Scriptures referencing death and hell

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 

                   The choices are death (perish), or everlasting life.

“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

                    The consequence of sin is death, not eternal burning or torture. 

“For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more. Indeed you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.” Psalm 37:9-11

“But the wicked shall perish and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows shall vanish into smoke, they shall vanish away.” Psalm 37:20

“But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm 37:38

     The wicked will perish, be no more, vanish into smoke. They will not burn or be tortured forever.

Ezekiel 18:4 says it plainly - “the soul who sins shall die.”

Obadiah 1:15,16 says “they shall be as though they had never been.”

See also Psalm 36:12, Isaiah 47:14, Psalm 145:20, Psalm 21:9.

The alternatives are not eternal suffering or eternal bliss, but eternal life or eternal death!

As for those who believe the soul cannot die:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can kill both body and soul in hell.” Matthew 10:28

People think satan is in charge of hell. Who has the keys of Hell? Jesus! Why would fallen angels be allowed to punish people eternally when they themselves are guilty of grievous sins that have led many astray, and they have done so joyfully? Does that sound just? In fact, the Bible speaks of satans’ end. (Ezekiel 28:13-19 if you’d like the context.)

“Therefore I have brought forth a fire from your midst, it has consumed you, and I have reduced you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who looked at you. All who know you among the people are astonished and appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and shall never return to being.” Ez 28: 18B, 19

Then in Revelation 20:7-10 both the devil and the wicked are consumed in the lake of fire. 

So I hope this isn’t too long or too morbid. I know there are some difficult passages and I will address those in the next post, thank you for stopping by!



Difficult Passages on Hell

Parable on Hell

From “The Bible Says That?,” a good article on Hell:

The Truth About Hell 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Power of Words

“You’re very hard on yourself”

I’ve heard several people tell me this many times and they were right. I was hard on myself, but I thought I was being honest. The problem was that my opinion of myself wasn’t Gods word about me, and words actually do matter. So much in fact, that to misuse them can cause some very undesired outcomes. 

Your words are more powerful than you realize. Man was created in Gods image and after His likeness. 
God gave us authority over the earth and everything in it. Some of this authority was lost at the Fall, however we are still created in the image and likeness of God and as such have attributes and abilities that are like His, and these we are often tricked out of unless we truly study Gods Word. 

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 6:2 tells us we are snared (trapped) by the words of our lips. James 3 outlines it even more clearly. 
“Even so the tongue is a little member and it can boast great things. See how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze. And the tongue is a fire (a world of wickedness) set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth being itself ignited by hell.”

The words we speak can affect us and our words can be influenced by the enemy - but out of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), so the deeper issue is our hearts. [There is a connection between the heart and mind which I’ve explained in The Heart to Mind Connection if you’d like to look into that.] 
This is why God warns us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and to renew our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23). The outcome of our hearts and minds are expressed by our tongues and once that happens it sets a course in our lives. Simply said, words have creative power. 

By our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned (Matthew 12:37). Your words have authority to create every time you speak. If you speak positively in prayer but speak negatively the rest of the time, your negative words will prevail because they come from your heart. Blessing and cursing from the same place should never happen (James 3:10). We must diligently assess our thoughts before speaking them out. We renew our minds by the ‘washing’ of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). 

In the story of the Exodus, God delivered them out of Egypt, made the Egyptians give them all their wealth, caused them to cross the Red Sea over dry land while their enemies perished in the waters, gave them water out of a rock and heavenly food to eat. Yet when they sent out the spies, they would not believe they could overcome the Canaanites because there were giants. They were ready to appoint a new leader and go back to their enslavement in Egypt. They walked by sight, not by faith and believed a false report that they could not take the land - false because God had already proven to them over and over that He is able. This delayed their entry into the Promised Land by 400 years. Our words have consequences.

When we speak words that seem to be true, for example: “I can never find what I want,” “I’m just not very smart,” “I’m always tired,” “I’m not good at anything,” “nobody cares about me” and so on, are we speaking negative outcomes into existence? Regardless, wouldn’t it be better to speak Gods Words? “I am fearfully and wonderfully made “(psalm 139:14), “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”(Phil 4:13), “I am loved (John 3:16). 

Words are important and they have consequences. Use them wisely. I will endeavor to do the same.
Check below for more affirming words from God. 

Blessings, and thanks for stopping by !

I say I am unlovable, but God says I am loved . Romans 8:38,39

I say I am weak, but God says He makes me strong. Psalm 18:32

I say I was abandoned, but God says I am adopted. Ephesians 1:5

I say I am broken, but God says He has made me whole. Psalm 147:3

I say I am alone, but God says He is always with me. Joshua 1:9

I say I am lost, but God says He gives me direction. Isaiah 30:21

I say I am afraid, but God says I am powerful, loved and have a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I say I am worthless, but God says His son died for me because I am worth it. John 3:16

Sunday, July 23, 2023

The Broken Glass Candle

I’m sharing a guest post with you today. It’s a lovely reminder that we are all broken in some way, but God can still take what we have when we come to Him and make His light radiate beautifully through us. 

Isaiah 61:3 
“To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

I walked in from the store with my arms full and a brand new candle in my bag.  As I struggled to get it all on the counter, one bag dropped and I heard the glass break.  My brand new candle was ruined as the glass shattered.  Frustrated, I was ready to throw the whole thing away.  My husband refused to let me do so.  “It will still light; it will still serve its purpose,” he stated.  Immediately, I began to argue back ... “But it’s broken and ugly and glass is everywhere.  It’s just not the same.”

I walked away and when I came back, he had placed the candle on the counter and lit the wick.

My heart immediately was drawn to the light.  How often do we do this in our own lives or with others?  Things don’t turn out the way we want them to.  Plans fail.  Dreams shatter.  Goals hit the floor.  People break our hearts.  And we are ready to throw the whole dang thing in the trash.  Even though it can still light ... still shine ... still bring the fragrance of goodness.  It just may not be pretty or in the package that we wanted or imagined.

May we all be reminded that even in the brokenness and cutting edge of life, there is still goodness and purpose and light.  We simply must be willing to not throw it all away and allow the redemption to take place.  There are times that our story will simply speak a little louder and impact even more people when we are willing to allow the broken places of our life and story to shine for others to see and understand.

- Liz Liles Wagoner

Discovered on SGN, Some Good News, Facebook. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 14, 2023

If Our Hearts Condemn Us

I know many struggle with this, and I want to encourage you. I’m using the amplified version for the main scripture. 

1 John 3:20
Whenever our hearts, in (tormenting) self accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. (For we are in Gods hands) For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts) and He knows (perceives and understands) everything (nothing is hidden from Him).

Sometimes our hearts are burdened with a sense of our own unworthiness and we struggle within ourselves even wondering if we are saved, loving enough, doing enough. Note that God is greater in the sense that He is a more perfect judge than our hearts are, for “the heart is deceitful above all things.” Jeremiah 17:9.

It is love which assures us - under the accusations of our consciences. “If you forgive men their trespasses, God will also forgive you” Matthew 6:14.  By loving our brethren in deed and truth, it enables us to quench the charges of our consciences. The very desire in our hearts to show love is the evidence of Gods’work in our hearts. Remember that when your heart accuses you!!

We can also hold every thought captive to the glory of God. This means discerning when something is true or false. We know the enemy can affect our thoughts. Those thoughts are not ours, they are implanted suggestions. Don't entertain them, but deal with them right away. If you know the truth it will set you free. 

God knows all our affairs past, present and future even before we come to Him, and he has the right and will (desire) to pardon. We can thankfully acknowledge this and confess our faults and even the miss-understanding of our hearts - and appeal to God, who is greater than our hearts.

“For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 

Hope that helps! 
Find this post and others under ‘Quickies’


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Love Notes: Endless Love

“Love never fails, but whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” 1 Cor.13:9, 10

Love never fails — Love never gives up, never quits, never runs out or disappears and keeps on coming. The more you give love the more there will be. Love never ends nor ever fails. You could substitute the word God for love because God is love. Love is forever, or it isn’t love at all.

In comparing love with the gifts of the spirit, we learn these were never meant to last, but will come to an end. 

In short…
Prophecy is the gift of unveiling the mysteries of the what’s and whys of things that are happening. 
Tongues are a gift with the ability to speak in a language you have not learned. Some say these include angels tongues. 
The gift of knowledge is to grasp a great range of biblical truths, but there is also a word of knowledge that reveals something to a person about themselves that builds their faith. 

The latter part of this scripture states:
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

So the gift of prophecy will fail, the gift of tongues will cease and the gift of knowledge will vanish away. One day these things will no longer be needed. We will be known as we are known. What does this mean? There will be no question who I am, who you are, whose we are. We will know. Not only will we know each other, but we will have greater clarity and understanding of all things.

Graduating from death to life is like maturing from a child into an adult. This physical world has limitations that the spiritual world does not, and it’s necessary because this world is in a fallen state under the power of the enemy. One day the hindrances of this physical world will be removed and our true spiritual lives will be revealed. 

Lastly, “and now abide faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”

Love is all that matters! 
God is all that matters! 


See ‘LoveNotes’ in the sidebar for more. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Love notes- Attributes

In the last post we briefly covered how the gifts can be exercised without love, and because of that how important it is to have an understanding of what love is. You’ve heard it said that there are different kinds of love. 
Eros love (sensual, erotic, passionate affection)
Philos (friendship, affection, family, warmth)
Agape (commitment to cherish and uphold another, care and concern for another’s welfare, Gods love). The latter form is the one expressed here. 

Let’s look at our verse for today

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; it does not parade itself; is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Notice that there are only three positives mentioned. Love suffers long (patience), is kind and rejoices in truth. 

The negatives are things we should avoid completely. They are envy (jealousy), pride, arrogance, rudeness, greed, being easily offended, evil thinking, rejoicing in ungodliness. These negative expressions are what we must give up when we come to know Christ; an actual dying to self. This dying to self allows us to grow in love.

Well, you know — easier said than done. A couple of the many reasons for this are: We tend to carry ‘memories’ of the ‘old man’ with us, and whenever someone insults us, or disagrees with us, or disrespects us, it comes back and spews all over them. Old habits die hard. Another huge issue is that we become jealous of others. We want what they have and are angry that we don’t have it. To ‘love in spite of’ is a continual battle of the mind, but it is completely worth it when our aim is to become like Christ. 

In this verse patience is described as long suffering. Having patience means to endure, to allow people to work it out in their own ways when necessary. We must remember that God wishes that all would be saved. We have to see others through His eyes. We may not understand all they’ve gone through, but we are called to be loving towards them in spite of what they said, how bad they smell, how arrogant and self serving they are, etc.

Love bears all things (love covers, it doesn’t spread it about, it is silent about the wrong).
Hopes all things (never gives up on you, or on others, or in situations).
Believes all things (not gullible, but willing to give others a chance, believing in their ability to change). 
Endures all things (not self serving, but willing to forgive for the benefit of others).

Love is the character of Christ. As believers, we should be growing in love. Many are just as worldly as they were when they first believed. They are like a butterfly that never fully broke out of their cocoon. Stuck between one life and another. If this is you, it’s time to break free!

Love is the key!


More Love Notes found in the sidebar under labels.

1 Peter 4:7-11 
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Love Notes: The Love Source

There’s a verse in the Bible that’s always bothered me. Reading and studying 1 Corinthians 13 reminded of this verse. 

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23

I believe it’s possible they were not living out their faith in love, but focused on the gifts they were given. These are people that the church tends to hold in high regard, whom people respect and want to know. We look up to them because of the gifts they display (as if they are closer to God than the rest of us are, or are somehow favored by God) — but are their gifts executed in love?

In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 we find something similar. Paul outlines some of the positive aspects of the gifts —  "if I speak the tongues of men and angels, if I have prophetic powers and understand all things, if I have faith to move mountains, if I give all I have to the poor, if I give my body to be burned."

However, it seems the gifts can be deposited without love. 
The results of that are: 
Speaking in various tongues — a sounding brass or clanging cymbal
Prophetic powers and amazing faith — I am nothing
Give all to the poor, even sacrifice my life — it profits me nothing.

As an every day example, we also experience this when using our God given talents which are gifts as well. There are many artistic creations that are extremely ungodly, books written that are vile, instruction spoken in error, etc. Our gifts and talents must arise from and be enveloped in love. It is more important to operate in love than to be busy and actively doing things without love. Both are necessary (doing and loving), but love outweighs it all. It is therefore crucial to understand what love is and how to attain it.

1 John 4:7,8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been borne of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 

God IS love and therefore love comes from God, and to truly love we must know God.

John 14:21 The one who obeys me is the one who loves me and because he loves me, my Father will love him, and I will too and I will reveal myself to him. (LB)

Love has a fruit of obedience to the law of God and we thereby show our love for God.

I want to interject that obedience to God is not burdensome because His commandments are for the benefit of mankind. All the law (commandment) is fulfilled in one phrase “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Galatians 5:14)

The fruit of the Spirit shows us one way active love looks like. It is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22,23). Against such there is no law because they are performed in love. 

We see that in Matthew 7, the reason Christ never knew them must be because they did not truly know or love Him. The love chapter clarifies to us that without love all our deeds are fruitless. Our focus cannot be on our own importance, but on our love for God and man - through God who is the love source.

Gods’ gifts are amazing but they must be expressed in love. God is not a respecter of persons. He loves us and His love is available to all, but he requires obedience to His will - which is for our benefit and the benefit of others. 

Do you know who God is? Have you asked Him to reveal himself to you? Are you ready to repent of your own wrongdoings and focus on Him as your vital need? He is waiting for you because He desires that all men come to Him, that none should perish but have everlasting life. Don’t delay. The time is short. 

Part 3 dives deeper into the attributes of love. Don’t miss it!


Friday, June 23, 2023

Love Notes Intro

I have felt challenged to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day lately, allowing it to speak to me. This will now be a new topic that I'll be writing on under 'Love Notes' in the sidebar. Todays' will be the first and it's a bit of an introduction.

Years ago, when I was freshly married I went to a Ladies Retreat at Cowichan Camp on Vancouver Island. While packing for the weekend I decided I'd bring my guitar but opted to leave my music at home. I played quite a few classical songs from memory and didn't think I'd need my music.

At the retreat someone happened to mention that I had brought my guitar, so I was asked if I'd play a song at the beginning of the service. Since I had left my music at home I wasn't sure if I had a song I didn’t need the music for. Later while looking for something in my suitcase, to my surprise, there was my music! I knew I hadn't brought it and to this day I still don't know how it ended up in my suitcase, but having found it I had agreed to play for the service.

That night I sang a song taken from 1 Corinthians 13, which was just called ‘Love.’ I finger-picked on my guitar and sang the song, then went and sat down. The special speaker took her place at the podium, looked at me and said:

"You've never met me have you?" 
Quizically I responded, "No, I haven't"

“There is no way you could have known what my topic would be tonight, right?”
"Well, God is so good!" "My message today is on love." 

The goodness of God is truly beyond our understanding. He put this together for us. Just a bunch of women seeking His guidance. It wasn’t because I was so spiritual, nor because the preacher that day was so spiritual, but solely because God is love and He is good! 

The reason I share this story is because I think God's love is greater than we realize. I also believe love is the greatest thing we can learn to become and without it we miss the mark.  I haven't reached the level of love the Bible speaks of, in fact I am far from it. I think this is why I felt encouraged to read this chapter every day for a while. It's something I need to learn and grow into. I invite you to journey with me.

I am a bit of a rebel by nature, and I think most of us are. Like a true rebel, instead of starting at the beginning, I'm going to start at the very end at 1 Corinthians 13:13 which says this:

" And so faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

It really is the anchor verse of the whole chapter and therefore worthy to start with in my humble opinion. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Check out Love Notes in the sidebar for more.