Imitators Of Christ

6th August

Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

Ephesians 5:1-2

What is true love? Going the extra mile? Doing something you don’t want to do to make someone else happy? Or is it just being kind to everyone? Well you could answer all of the above yet the greatest example of love was Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Sacrificial love

Paul tells us in his wonderful writings, here in Ephesians, that Jesus offered Himself up as a sacrifice for us. That means that He surrendered every Heavenly privilege to come down to this earth as a servant. He gave Himself completely for our sakes. He gave Himself 100%. Even when we didn’t deserve it, He gave Himself up for us. Sacrificial love means loving without thinking about your own privileges, rights or what you can get out of it in return.

Un-conditional love

Jesus’ unconditional love meant that He loved us, even when we were sinners. In other words, He loves us no matter what we do, not expecting anything in return and without limit. His love flows from a bottomless pit. There is no end. If we are to love with that same love, then we need to understand God’s love for us and love with that same love. If we try and love in our strength, it will be conditional but when we love with Jesus’ love, we just keep on giving love. Jesus didn’t stop giving love even when He was being beaten or mocked. He just kept loving. That is our marker!

1 John 4: 12 tells us that although no-one has seen God face to face, He can be revealed through the love that is expressed in our lives. In fact it says that if God live in us, then the FULL expression of His love can be seen through us. That is powerful. Jesus is our standard. Let His full love be expressed through you.

God’s Love Is Powerful

27th July

Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise Him, all you people of the earth. For His unfailing love for us is powerful; The Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 117

There is no greater love than the love of Father God. In fact the Psalmist tells us that God’s love for us is POWERFUL. It is because of His powerful love that sin was defeated. It was His powerful love that resurrected Jesus from the grave. It is His powerful love that saves even the most hardened criminals. Because of His powerful love towards us we too can have an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Even when we rebel against Him, His powerful love calls us back into His arms. He is faithful and just always. His faithfulness endures forever.

It is because we are loved with such a powerful love, that we can praise Him, we can love Him too, and we can love others with the same love He loves us with. His powerful love breaks the chains of addiction, fear and bondage. His powerful love is liberating. He powerful is constantly re-uniting broken families and bringing hope and justice to the world. Let us unite in praise to the Lord, because of His Powerful love towards us and because of His faithfulness.

Start your week in praise. Accept His Powerful love. Love God. Love yourself. Love others.

In Our Father’s Arms

22ndJune

Praise the Lord; praise God our Saviour! For each day He carries us in His arms.”

Interlude

Psalm 68:19

Thanksgiving is such a great way to start the day. Thinking upon and remembering the goodness of all God has done for us, encourages us to exercise an attitude of gratitude in our lifestyles and as part of our daily devotion to God. It helps us to put God in the place He deserves to be in our lives. He truly does carry in His arms each day. He lifts our burdens and loads us with His goodness. He exchanges ashes and mourning for songs of praise and dancing. He is a good good God.

David also, in Psalm 68, reminds his readers of God’s redemption for the Nation of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. He recalls when they were rescued from bondage in Egypt, fed in the barren dry lands, rescued from the surrounding chariots when Pharaoh realised he had made a mistake by letting the Israelites go free, (although it was God who was actually at work) saving them by parting the seas and then lavishing them with the wealth of their enemies.

It is only when we recognise God’s goodness in our lives, that when faced with trails and tribulations, we can find strength and courage to persevere through and not to give up. We can be assured that just as God has helped us in the past, so He will help us in the future.

It’s so great to see the ‘selah’ or ‘interlude’ and the end of this verse. It is almost like David is saying to his readers, just pause. Just take a second to really think about Gods goodness. Think about the times He has helped you and thank Him, praise Him. Think about the times He has carried your burdens, remind yourself of the times when He has saved you, remember the moments He carried you in His loving Fatherly arms… Now go, and live a life of thanksgiving, making sure others know how good our God is.