"For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven,
he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus made it very clear that the family of God is made up of those who do His will. If we love God we will desire to do what He wants. We find out what He wants by reading our instruction manual the Bible. We test if we are in His will by making certain that what we are pursuing falls within His instructions. "When I was crossing the Irish Channel one dark starless night, I stood on the deck by the captain and asked him, 'How do you know Holyhead Harbor on so dark a night as this?' He said, 'You see those three lights? Those three must line up behind each other as one, and when we see them so united we know the exact position of the harbor's mouth.' When we want to know God's will there are three things which always concur—the inward impulse, the Word of God, and the trend of circumstances! God in the heart, impelling you forward. God in His Book, corroborating whatever He says in the heart; and God in circumstances, which are always indicative of His will. Never start until these three things agree." (F. B. Meyer.)
"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and theLord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome Godwho does not show partiality nortake a bribe.He executes justice forthe orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."
These words were spoken to the Jewish nation by Moses. The Israelites were to honor God -- the God who is above all gods -- by loving foreigners. God abounds in love for all people, without partiality. He cares for the fatherless and the husbandless. And the unbelievers, too. He makes sure they have food and clothing. "We are here taught our duty to our neighbour. God's common gifts to mankind oblige us to honour all men. And those who have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with God, should be ready to show kindness to those who are in the like distress." (Matthew Henry)
"The LORD appeared tohim from afar,saying,“I haveloved you with an everlasting love;Therefore I have drawn you withlovingkindness.'"
When Elizabeth Barrett married Robert Browning, her parents disowned her because they disapproved of the union. Elizabeth wrote to her parents almost every week, telling them that she loved them and longed for a reconciliation. After 10 years she received a huge box in the mail that contained all the notes she had sent. None had been opened. Although these “love letters” have become an invaluable part of classical English literature, it’s really sad to think that they were never read by Elizabeth Barrett’s parents. Had they looked at just one, the broken relationship with their daughter might have been restored.
The Bible is God's love letter to us. Over and over again He has told us of His love for us and His longing for reconciliation. More than this, He has shown us His love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) This love demonstrated to us through Jesus is from everlasting. "For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you" (1 Peter 1:20) Because of His great love God continues to woo the unsaved. Sadly, some people never respond.
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
Jesus foretold of His own death: that of being lifted up from the earth on a rugged cross. The cross on which He would pay the price for the sins of all men and all women. The Jews, the Gentiles. All people. There is no greater love than this. There is no greater truth than this, that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life." Christ died for us and this proof of His love draws us. But knowing that He died for us is not enough. We must receive Him as our Savior and place our trust in Him for our salvation. ". . . what is it about His death that makes it the magnet that will draw all men? Men are drawn by cords of love. They may be driven by other means, but they are drawn only by love. And what is it that makes Christ’s death the highest and noblest and most wonderful and transcendent manifestation of love that the world has ever seen, or ever can see? No doubt you will think me very narrow and old-fashioned when I answer the question, with the profoundest conviction of my own mind, and, I hope, the trust of my own heart. The one thing that entitles men to interpret Christ’s death as the supreme manifestation of love is that it was a death voluntarily undertaken for a world’s sins."
"Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him
a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
When we become physically thirsty water will quench our thirst, but eventually we will become thirsty again. The thirst of our souls, which is the longing for a meaning relationship with our Creator, can only be satisfied by Jesus. And when we meet Him and begin a relationship with Him, our soul thirst is satisfied forever. "Water and life both satisfy. Water is limited in its quantity, limited in the sense that it’s from outside, it brings limited satisfaction, but life is perpetually reproducing by the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s something inside of us, it’s lastingly satisfying because of course it is ultimately the Holy Spirit. Our Lord is speaking about the Spirit when He says He will give the leaping fountain of living waters, the Holy Spirit who will bring eternal life." (Dr. S. Lewis Johnson)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
Recently while photographing a nearby ranch, I stumbled across a large pile of rubble from a burned out building. The look of the landscape was marred by the trash. It needed to be dealt with, cleaned up to restore the beauty of the grounds. When we neglect to deal with sin in our lives, our hearts begin to look like that heap of refuse. We need God's cleansing touch to restore the beauty of our hearts. The Psalmist wrote "Createin me aclean heart, O God,And renewasteadfast spirit within me." He knew that it is only God who can set things right in our lives. The first step to a clean heart is to acknowledge the unsightly sin that resides there and repent -- turn away from the sin -- and then to confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness. He will faithfully and righteously forgive us and completely cleanse us. "God’s promise is that if we truly face our sin with genuine sorrow and confess it before the Lord we will be forgiven. The stain will be removed. In God’s eyes we will become as if we were unblemished." (Bruce Goettsche)
"Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth."
The Christian is clothed in the holiness of Christ; His grace and mercy, forgiveness and justification are our "holy attire". It is the pure white linen of Christ that covers our guilt and shame and makes us acceptable to worship the Lord. And we worship in reverence and awe; careful not to trivialize Him. "There is a sacred trembling which is quite consistent with joy, the heart may even quiver with an awful excess of delight. The sight of the King in His beauty caused no alarm to John in Patmos, and yet it made him fall at his feet as dead. Oh, to behold Him and worship Him with prostrate awe and sacred fear!" (Spurgeon)