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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Restoration

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When I blow it –

 

God longs to quickly restore me - God’s door – it’s always open to me

 

When I’m:

 

-Seething with anger, resentment and unforgiveness, or

-Wallowing in self-pity and seeking sympathy, or

-Pouting with pride and self-justification, or

-Overcome with guilt and self-loathing falsely believing this is humility, And therefore I’m unhappy, troubled and with a totally dark and negative outlook on everything and I suddenly realize where I am – in a pit – I should:

 

Go to God immediately and nowhere else, for He will always lovingly cleanse and deliver me from my anger, self-pity, pride and guilt, and the misery of them. He will completely change my perspective on my circumstances and on people to one that is positive, light and peaceful so restoring my happiness and confidence in Him.

 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 13:5&6 ...For He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do to me.

 

The more I do this, going directly to God when I’ve messed up and I’m in trouble, the more it becomes a good habit and the easier and quicker I’m able to do it. God’s love for me never changes, never diminishes, His welcome is unwavering no matter what I’ve said or done I can never wear it out. If He wants me to extend forgiveness to others at least seven times seventy times what do you think the extent of His forgiveness towards me is – limitless. Remember the prodigal son; he messed up big time, what happened when he turned back to his father (a symbol of God our Father)?

 

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Jeremiah 31:3 (God speaking)...Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love:

 

God will never not forgive me – I really need to know that.

 

Whenever I go to Him, after stumbling, and spend time quietly alone with Him my determination should be that I’m not going to leave until He has made me right again. I seek Him with my whole heart knowing that He can always be found. I am instantly and sincerely ready to say I’m sorry for any and all the wrongs I may have done, because I know that Jesus purchased my forgiveness at Calvary by taking those sins I just committed on Himself. I am completely unafraid of God’s reproof or correction or instruction because He does it by His Spirit through His word and, since He is love, He always does it in love.

 

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree...

II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

I John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love;...

 

When I go to Him He never fails to restore me to peace and to cause a morsel of scripture to come alive to my heart and thereby to strengthen, comfort and establish me. It is very safe always to go to God when I’m in trouble, He never turns me away and He always blesses and refreshes me.

 

John 6:37 ...He who comes to me I will by no means cast out.
 Acts 3:19 ...When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

 

My enemy doesn’t want me to go to God

 

When I yield to temptation and sin, be it pride, anger, self-pity or whatever, it wasn’t God that tempted me, it was Satan who the Bible describes as the tempter. Having then successfully tempted me it is Satan again who heaps accusing and condemnation thoughts on me for what I’ve just done. Part of that condemnation will always include how I do not deserve to be forgiven (as if forgiveness was on the basis of what I deserve) and therefore I shouldn’t even think about going to God. This thought coupled with the fact that I may not “feel” like going to God, because my flesh may want to savor its anger, pride or self-pity, keeps many believers from a quick recovery and they remain captives. These lying thoughts and feelings can only be overcome if my heart is established in the truth that God wants me to come to Him regardless, and if I then act on the truth instead of the lie.

 

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man:

1 Cor. 7:5 ...That Satan tempt you not...

Rom. 8:34 Who is he that condemns, is it Christ that died...?

1 Tim. 3:6 ...lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 

Of course if the enemy of my soul can trick me (that’s what “wiles of the devil” means) into believing that God was responsible for my fall with a thought such as “why did you let this happen to me God?” then Satan really has me in a headlock. Not only am I not going to God to free me, but now I have a resentment against God, the very worst thing a Christian can possibly do. Once again, it is only my knowing the truth in my heart that God always desires to either lead me away from temptation or sustain me in and deliver me from the temptation that will keep me from this awful snare of the devil.

 

Mat. 6:13(God wants me to pray and believe daily) And do not lead me into temptation (so that He can then always lead me out of it).

1 Cor. 10:13 There is no temptation that has taken you that isn’t common to man but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able to bear, but will along with the temptation also make a way of escape that you might be able to bear it.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that He (Jesus) Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid (assist and relieve) those who are tempted.

 

I am in a war, the battle is in my thought life & it’s only winnable through God,

 

Whether we know it or like it or not we Christians are constantly engaged in warfare and it’s a thought warfare. Unless I know the truth in my heart, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is always good to me, always does the right thing, will always take care of me and can be utterly trusted, then I will be dead meat in the hands of my enemy. I will inevitably fall easy prey to the fiery darts of the character assassinating thoughts he gives me about God. Oh but when I believe in the unchanging goodness of God, turn quickly towards Him in my heart when trouble comes and stay anchored to the truth of His word, then the devil is dead meat and runs away in fear.

 

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (deceiving thoughts) of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (people), but against ...wicked spirits...

Psa. 27:13 I would have lost heart (and given up the fight) unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord...

Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

When I know who my enemy is, it’s easier to always forgive people, as I should.

 

Pride, anger and self-pity always come with contention, hostility and resentment towards other people, which will remain as invisible prison bars, with me the prisoner, until I forgive everyone of everything. This forgiveness is made easier when I understand that Christian people (me included) often do and say things contrary to their true nature when their thoughts, words and deeds are to varying degrees under the influence of wicked spirits. Unsaved people, according to the Bible, are unknowingly, by virtue of their being unsaved, much more heavily influenced by demons. It would be foolish of me to expect godly behavior from an unsaved and therefore ungodly person. Yes, as the scripture in Ephesians quoted above says, my fight is really not with people but with the spirits behind the people.

 

Eph. 2:2-3 ...Following the prince of the power of the air (you were (Amp. Version) obedient to him and under his control) the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience...among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves...

 

When these realities are combined with the fact that the one who extended mercy towards me and my sins, requires and will enable me to extend the same mercy to others, then granting forgiveness becomes both desirable and achievable. Especially since the alternative, of harboring unforgiveness towards another, forfeits my own forgiveness from God.

 

Mat. 10:8 ...Freely you have received (forgiveness) freely give

Eph. 4:32 ...Forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Mat. 6:15 But If you do not forgive men (everyone of every thing) their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

The same spirits that may have induced a person to wrong me will endeavor, through thoughts, to induce me to not forgive them. If I am to remain free I must come down on the side of God’s truth, knowing that He will empower me to do so, and, regardless of my feelings or even if the person is sorry, forgive them.

 

After I’ve blown it and God has restored me,

 

When I’m restored and learning to live more at peace in the spirit than in the flesh and troubled, it would be wise for me to let God start to strengthen my heart with His word in the area(s) of my weakness. Whether that weakness is anger, self-pity, pride, condemnation or whatever God not only will restore me when I fall but better yet His living words in my heart will literally change me so that I’m no longer vulnerable to falling in the same pit over and over again. Under the New Covenant God no longer requires that I measure up through self-effort and will power to His standard of right behavior, no, He offers to change my nature and actually make me more like Jesus. How, through planting individual scriptures in my heart as living seeds – these words of His in me are alive and very powerful and are the exclusive way God transforms a Christian into the image and likeness of His Son.

 

Heb. 4:12 The word of God is alive and powerful...

1 Thes.2:13 ...The word of God which works mightily also in you that believe

2Cor 3:18 But we all...are being changed into the same image (of Jesus)

Rom.8:29 ...To be conformed to the image of His Son...

 

Scriptures, any one of which, if in my heart, will change my nature,

 

Anger: The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger; and it is to his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

 

Self-pity: For consider Him that endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. Hebrews 12:3

 

Pride: Only by pride comes contention (arguing and quarreling).. Prov.13:10

 

Guilt: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Rom. 8:1

 

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