THE CIRCLE OF LOVE
Love is our sole mission on earth if we desire our names to be included in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” This path is revealed in Christ exclusively, no other way is provided. Christ is the embodiment of Gods love. God, in His grace has provided free access to all. “For the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.”
A right relationship with God requires a life guided by the Spirit of God which results in obedience to these two commands: Galatians, 5:14. “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And in Matthew, 22:37-39, we find two commands given by Christ, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’… If we follow these principles, God’s design for our life will produce fruit. The disparity between Galatians, Matthew and other scripture is clarified here; 1 John, 4:20. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
Paul writing to the church at Corinth states, “Though I speak with tongues of men and angles, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Love, exemplified by our Savior Jesus Christ in faith moves mountains, understands the mystery of God’s work and walks in the knowledge and security of His Grace. There is no relationship with God, absent Love for our brothers in Christ for “without love it is impossible to please God.”
In John 14:26. Jesus speaking with his disciples, informs them of His approaching departure. With these words He assured them he would send a helper, the Holy Spirit, to abide in them forever: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, all that I’ve said I have saidto you.” This Spirit of God resides in His children, strengthening and encouraging, reminding us to walk in love. Teaching us the character of love and the appropriate approach to those who may offend us. Following, Christ clarifies our individual relationship with the father of love.
14:21 “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and show myself to him.” Judas, not Iscariot asked him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself to us and not the world.” And Jesus answered and said onto him, “if anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
What then is required of us to be counted as sons and daughters? First we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and relinquish control of our hearts in submission to the Spirit of God. Scripture tells us, “We must confess with our mouths.”, yet Christ also states, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I ask?” We also find in James, 2:19, “You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe and shudder. Oh foolish man, don’t you know that faith without works is worthless?” Satan believes in the existence of God. He was in the garden. In heaven conversing with God he expresses his desire to have his way with Job. Satan knows our creator, but will not submit to Him. 1 John 4:15-16. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. The key word here being, “abides,” or lives. The children of darkness refuse to live in Christ, they are antichrist. True love for God is exhibited by the keeping of his words. The love of God is at home in the hearts of His children.
Love must be free to ‘travel’. While some may resist or oppose, It cannot be hidden and it will be recognized. “And no man, when he hath lighted a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, so they that enter in may see the light.” Luke, 8:16
God is eternal. His attributes are without beginning or end. His Love is available to all who answer the beckoning of His knock. Turn from error, welcome to your table the Lord of Lords. The Lamb of God offers the fulfillment of humanity’s designed purpose. To walk again with God, and know the love we were created to share with Him. We are commanded to be baptized and promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s plan for redemption is fulfilled in us when, in faith we accept His Lordship. Thus being grafted into the family tree, results are produced. “…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians, 5:22
It is inevitable that God’s love now in us, will establish other circles of love. However if our witness does not express the indwelling of the Spirit of God, knocking on doors and many words on the subject will not bring salvation. “But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope you possess. But respond with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter, 3:15, we are disciples, yet not all are evangelists. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Cor 12:27. The disciples were instructed to “Make disciples.” God gives different gifts. “And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” Ephesians, 4:11 We find also here; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” 1Thess, 4:11. Not all are evangelists.
To breathe life into a circle of love we must walk in the Spirit of God’s love, then, they who venture into our lives will witness our testimony. Those with ears to hear will be receptive to the “Good News” of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, others will not hear. Don’t be discouraged, It is Christ they are rejecting not you. Self service and the pleasure of this life provide comfort and security to those who “oppose themselves” and God has given man the option to choose or reject Him. Forced love, is not love. God freely offers reconciliation to His creation through the sacrifice of His Son, and allows us to decide. Choose life.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,,, you who kill the Prophets and stone those sent to you,,, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen would protect her chicks beneath her wings but you would not let me”. Matt. 23:37
Will God’s love and gift of eternal life cease because many refuse to believe? No! The truth does not need to be believed to exist. God existed before time. Before men, before angels. Lies must be believed to exert power and control. When a tree fell in the forest before men were created, it impacted with a loud crash. When a cat is trapped in a box without sustenance it dies regardless of what anyone thinks. So unless you wish to be charged with animal cruelty, turn the little kitty loose. Today, any here with the desire to reestablish the relationship with our Father is invited to become, a Brother of the Son. . “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” Our champion prayed. And so it is. We are home.
When sorrow in our hearts over a family member or friends refusal of our offer to enter Gods circle of love, we must continue to pray for strength and perseverance. We may revisit those who refuse at a later date. Only God knows the heart of men. Perhaps you are not the person who will strike the chord. Perhaps they are not ready. Perhaps someday they will see the light of God’s love. I have considered this, at times perception is as critical as the truth. If I am ineffectual with words of truth, if I can not convey the truth in a way that it is understood and accepted, it will not effect the desired outcome. While scripture does say His Word will not return void, it does not promise that all who hear it will embrace it.
To create our circles of love, we must emulate God’s example of love. As humans, God’s abundant and infinite capacity for love, we can’t equal, yet our desire is to mimic His Spirit of Love. Psalms 103:11-12:1. For as high as the heavens is from the earth, so great is his loving devotion for those who fear him. When we forgive offenses against us, it is an indication of love. In verse 12 we read, “As far as the east is from the west so far he has removed our transgressions from us.” We may forgive, forgetting however can prove difficult and I am not convinced that it is productive. Memory is the core vehicle for learning.
Love forgives all. It is important to note that scripture states when we forgive we heap coals of fire on them. Asking God to forgive them as Christ did, indicates your forgiveness and your desire that God also, “Not hold this to their charge”. The human experience is replete with mistakes. We are not to desire retribution in this life nor in eternity. Why add ‘coals to the fire?’ Perhaps it is Gods desire that we forgive and request that He do the same. He takes no pleasure in the destruction of any, “nor that any should perish” so remember, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self seeking it is not easily angered love keeps no account of wrong. Love takes no pleasures in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bares all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails. 1st Cor.13:4-8. God’s love is no mystery. He loved the world and gave his only son, so any who believed in him would not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.
The forest and the trees.
You’ve prepared a delicious lunch and all the essentials for the family’s enjoyment of nature into the SUV. Your wife and best friend is in a light and happy mood. A sweet smile of contentment sparkles in her eyes as she glances your way. The raucous excitement of the children as they jockey for window seats increases the sense of adventure. Driving for miles through a tapestry of verdant woodland the children’s voices they sing, joyous in their innocence evokes a sense of well being and gratitude for all you’ve been blessed with.
Arriving at your destination, you gather up the picnic supplies and hike toward a glade which as a child you visited with your parents on numerous occasions. Finding this jewel was a Godsend you recall with fond memories. Intoxicated by natures varied scents you smile. The song of laughing water in the nearby stream on its journey of discovery accentuates the pristine glory. The individual harmonies of the birds lilting voices resound in joy. Here, in pleasure you spread your blanket. Opening the picnic basket, you share a meal and in appreciative contentment are satisfied. After a brief respite watching the children explore this little haven you invite all to press higher for a more expansive view. As delightful as this little glade is, standing in the middle of this magnificent forest your field of vision has been confined to those trees in the immediate vicinity. Hiking upward soon your little family attains the crest of the hill. Breaking into the opening, Awe, commands silence. The panoramic splendor of the great forest below and grandeur of our Creators handiwork is spread in all directions by the stroke of the masters hand.
This world’s field of vision is limited. Darkness, mistakes and a dearth of love for their fellow human beings, drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, and false teaching has at once sedated and titillated humanity.
From this perspective, life is immediate. Today brings challenges which must be addressed. Pleasures to experience and an abundance of philosophies to contemplate or ignore. Oblivious of the gift a call away mankind presses on. Twigs adrift in a stream winding blindly down toward an ocean of lost dreamers. Isaiah, 65:1. I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walks in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts; 3. A people that provokes me to anger continually to my face… 5. They say, Stand back, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all day. 6. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but will repay, even into their bosom, For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor, 6:2
Today, Is the accepted time. Put on the new man. Christ will infuse new life, eternal life. A new future and a clear vision of God’s love and purpose. Our brief existence is but a vapor, Let’s take this opportunity to again walk in the garden with our creator.
The existence of God is no mystery, He does not hide. When we are honest with ourselves we know, Science is the study of God’s creation. And you don’t get something from nothing. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans, 1:20.
John explains in 1 John, 4;7-8 Verse 7 Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God, everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God, whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.
There are 4 words used for love in scripture; eros, storge, philia, and agape
Eros is sexual in nature. Storage is familial love primarily. Husband/wife. Parents/children. Philia is the most general type of love in Scripture, encompassing love for fellow humans, care, respect, and compassion for people in need. Agape This term defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure.
God stood with us and proved his Love for humanity before we believed. Romans, 5:8. “But God established his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The pretense of love for gain or favor may fool some but God examines the heart. Empty suits and empty hearts will be weighed in the balance.
There is nothing that God’s love cannot fix. No heart He can’t mend. God is not Santa however. Consider these: …”Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Stand up and be counted. There is a plethora of scripture on dealing with relationships.
There will always be hate in the world. It should not be found in the hearts of God’s children. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it.”
Come onto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt. 11:28-33 Note those words, “learn of me.” Jesus will teach us to use God’s love to cope with heartaches, not eliminate them.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken onto you, that in me, you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: but be of good Cheer, I have overcome the world. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.”
How will Jesus give me rest you ask? Jesus gives us rest in the assurance of His protection, with His awareness of our frailties. He lived in the form of a man sinless, to conquer the curse of death. Tempted as we are, He remained the pure Lamb of God, providing the road home and waits for the moment to arrive when the names in the “Book of Life” are read to welcome His people into eternity.
Scripture is about Love. God’s love for man. Our love For God. And our love for our fellow man. We can not go through our daily lives, thinking we are blameless when we withhold love and forgiveness. Hebrews, 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, as well as holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so that no root of bitterness will spring up to cause trouble and defile many.
We are counseled to come as children, yet not childish, rather child like in our trust. Childhood, was a time of play. We were secure and felt protected as we engaged in carefree moments with sisters, brothers, cousins and friends. What an innocent time! This is the faith we must experience in our walk with The King of Kings.
There will be joy, laughter sometimes disagreements, but our disagreements then would not cancel out the next day of joy and laughter, and yes, more disagreements. For some as we aged that circle of love could no longer contain us. Like prodigal sons we choose self governance which progressed into the end of innocence.
Some here have become alienated from a brother or sister in Christ. Yet privately, internally, we still love them. Quite often it is weariness and pride which restrains us from seeking reconciliation. Let’s not grow weary in well-doing, in due time we will gather a harvest if we do not give up.
God, resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. Ephesians, 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; And be kind to one and other, tenderhearted, forgiving one and other, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
When we come to church with our offerings, remember our natural brothers, sisters or friends of yesteryear, someone in the church, no longer on speaking terms. Tithing will not purchase God’s forgiveness. Everything is God’s. He doesn’t need a new shirt, food or to pay bills. Works are a natural outflow, expressing a healthy relationship with Him. Giving, benefits our fellow man.
Christ expresses the importance of keeping the temple of God clean and safe. (“Sanctify your Hearts.”) A home in which His Spirit thrives. In Mat, 5:22 He stresses the importance of right relationships within the Body of Christ. “But I say unto you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you; Leave your gift before the altar, go your way; be reconciled to your brother, then return and offer your gift.
So, what is being said here? God is aware of our our humanity, the emotional aspect of our being. Scripture states, “Be angry, yet do not sin. Do not let the sun set upon your wrath.” Ephesians, 4:26. In Romans, 12:18, we read; “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.”
So, don’t be angry without a cause, Don’t stay angry. And as much as you can manage, live at peace with all men. We are made in the image of God, and He gets angry. Get over it. It’s for our own benefit. It’s a good thing He gets over it or we’d all be toast.
Raca is a word of Chaldee origin; O empty one, i.e. thou worthless (as a term of utter vilification). A senseless, empty headed man. A term of reproach used among the Jews in the time of Christ. Can we really consider our family in Christ, God’s family, to be worthless, senseless and empty headed? God died for them so they aren’t worthless. His Spirit lives in them so they aren’t empty. And, they can’t be senseless because they had enough sense to put their faith in God.
Believers in Christ cannot be fools, for, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God”.
Approach them kindheartedly, asking forgiveness. If they have wronged you, Cut out any root of bitterness. Loose the chains of ill feelings that weigh your heart down. Consider, when we harbor ill feelings against others, They are in Our Harbor. When we are tempted to take offense, Don’t pick it up. Why bring it inside? Move forward in Love. You are responsible for you. They will answer for themselves.
1 John, 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.” We all sin. Anyone who says they don’t is a liar. Strong’s defines Sin as: To be without a share in. To miss the mark . To error, be mistaken Websters synonyms for error are as follows; blunder, fumble, misstep, screw up, mistake, stumble… Sometimes we see others as sinners. This word seems to carry more judgment and weight than what it actually means. The only mistake that is unforgivable is to refuse the calling and direction of the Spirit of God. When we speak against the Spirit, of course we lose. It is the Spirit which calls us to God. When we refuse it’s direction, we get lost. We are lost.
As person who declares they walk in the light must continue in the light. Sanctification is a process. Our adoption is not finalized until we receive our Spiritual bodies. Romans, 8:23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
If you walk in the light, you are the elect of God. Elect/chosen.
Col. 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy beloved, put on tender mercies, longsuffering; Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against one another; even as Christ forgave you, you must also do.” Let’s embrace our natural family and our brothers and sisters within the body of Christ in the love of God and put an end adversarial behavior. Love is the prerequisite for salvation and the inscription of our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I have seen brothers and sisters in Christ here laughing having a good time rejoicing in fellowship, in this building. Brothers and sisters who have family members who are still in darkness. Yet here they are rejoicing in this building. God’s love relieves hurting hearts. Open your hearts. Don’t let one more day pass, lose your pride, “for today is the accepted time.”
Sincerely examine your hearts and change your future forever as we move forward into The Circle of Love where strife and bitterness find no harbor and brotherly love stands, a light, a beacon on the dark, rocky shores in this sea of humanity.
Thank you, may the God of Love guide your path to eternal salvation, Amen.
Shared by, Frank Moreno
Phil, 4:8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.