Tag Archives: love

Oneness of humanity

Puzzle-pieces5132

by John E. Werhan

From the garden of Eden, God has desired all humanity to be unified. He made Adam and Eve to live and take care of the garden provided for their substance (Genesis 1-2).

The problem of division arose when Satan lead Adam and Eve to sin against God (Genesis 3). Because of Satan, the unity of humanity was jeopardized.

This became evident with the division between Cain and Abel, which resulted in the first murder. Even today God desires humanity be unified but Satan’s influence is evident in the division that plagues our society.

Satan is active today in the division of humanity. Peter warned,

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:81 Peter 5:8
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8 Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

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Paul writing to the Galatian Christians noted the actions that promote such division, “…enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying…” (Galatians 5:20-21Galatians 5:20-21
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20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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These eight actions are truly manifest in those who are currently promoting division in our own society. It seems that they either do not know or do not understand the outcome of their actions. Paul makes it clear in the Galatian letter,

“…that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21Galatians 5:21
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21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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God does not want division of humanity. This is why He sent His only Son to die for the sins of humanity. When one puts aside the actions of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21Galatians 5:19-21
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19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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) division will become unity. Paul wrote concerning the true Christian,

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:26-29Galatians 3:26-29
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26 For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.

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If there is to be peace in our society, all humanity must turn from living for Satan to living for God. As long as individuals live for Satan and manifest the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21Galatians 5:19-21
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19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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Where has “agape” (Love) [the desire for the very best for others] gone? If “agape” (Love) was manifest by everyone in our society, we would not have all the troubles we are currently having.

May we all seek the true peace that comes from truly loving one another as taught in God’s inspired word.

Why affection is so important to marriage

kissing122

by Richard Mansel, manaaging editor

Thomas and Maggie sat in marriage counseling. Maggie dabbed at her swollen eyes as she cried about Thomas’ refusal to be affectionate to his wife of 32 years.

The counselor asked Thomas why he was cold towards her.

“That’s silly stuff. I won’t do it.”

“Maggie, did Thomas kiss you when you were dating?”

“All the time! I had to fight him off. Thomas even kissed me on our first date.”

“Did he hold your hand?”

Maggie smiled. “Absolutely! He was so romantic, bringing me flowers and candy.”

“Thomas, what changed?”

Thomas frowned. “Isn’t it obvious? I was a kid then. Look at me now!”

“Thomas, do you still love her?”

“Yeah.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“This is stupid. I’m leaving.”

Thomas slammed the door and Maggie was crushed.

A year later, the counselor saw Thomas in the park holding hands and kissing a new woman. Clearly, he had forgotten he was too old for affection.

A marriage without affection is like being frozen. We must be connected intimately with our spouse. Skin hunger is a very real thing.

Living without that connectivity leaves us empty. We cannot be one flesh with another person without affection. Being married roommates is desperately sad.

God commands us to be intimate. We are to be one in every way with our spouse (Genesis 2:18-25Genesis 2:18-25
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18 Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. 25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

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). Solomon begins his ode to passion in marriage, with the Shulamite woman saying, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (Song of Solomon 1:2).

We must never let the passion die in our marriage. Marital love cannot breathe without affection. Our bodies are not ours and we must be fully engaged with our partner (1 Corinthians 7:1-51 Corinthians 7:1-5
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7 1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife. 5 Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

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Start today with a touch, a hug and a kiss and rediscover what you have lost!

Do our children know we love them?

Parenting326

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Children psychoanalyze everything we do as parents, and they are always watching. The atmosphere of the home becomes a barometer that feeds or stifles their suspicions.

The adage, trust but verify, certainly applies. We tell our children that we love them, but our actions have greater power than words. Our investments matter more than our currency.

Children are fearful in a world saturated with broken homes because they see the emotional scars of their classmates and they fear being rejected.

Harsh words pierce the psyches of our kids and can do long-term damage. Model Christ’s heart by showing them unconditional love (John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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; Romans 6:5-11Romans 6:5-11
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5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! 10 For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. 11 Thus also consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Assure them that they will never stop being loved, no matter what they do. When they do something wrong, that behavior is wrong, not them. Never call them a bad child. That is like a knife-blade.

Be firm against misbehavior but gentle with their hearts. Help children see that they will make mistakes because that is the nature of humanity (Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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). If we cannot avoid making mistakes, we cannot expect them to do so.

As a result, when they do something wrong, it is separate from their person. We still love them as much as we ever did. If they mess up their room, criticize their behavior, not them.

Reinforce this distinction to them as they grow older so it becomes portable. Be sincere and open with them.

If they know they will be valued no matter what, they will hopefully feel safe enough to be their very best and pass this on to their children.

By utilizing unconditional love, learned from Christ, we have built a legacy of grace from above and we have changed a part of the world (Ephesians 6:4Ephesians 6:4
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4 You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

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; Proverbs 22:6Proverbs 22:6
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6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

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Eavesdropping

Snooping Businessman Holding Glass to Wall

by Stan Mitchell

I picked up a book written by Dale Jenkins recently entitled “A Minister’s Heart.” It is packed with wise, heartbreaking, encouraging (and sometimes funny) advice. I’m glad he wrote it, and I intend to buy several copies and give them to some young preachers I know.

But I have a question.

Would you “ordinary” Christians like to hear some of these items? Would you like to know how the church looks to a preacher? Any preacher of at least two years experience knows exactly what brother Jenkins means when he says:

  • At least three times, you’re going to wince when a guest speaker comes in and your arch enemy says clearly so that you can hear it, ‘Now that’s the kind of preaching we need!'”
  • “You are going to bury your best friend and mentor.”
  • “You are going to wonder who counsels the counselor” 
  • “You will be scolded for not visiting someone when they were in the hospital, even though they never told anyone they were going to be in the hospital.”
  • “You will have at least two people say that they hate you. You will have to preach a message of ‘truth in love’ to those same people.”
  • “You are going to have to defend your kids for doing something that if any other church member’s kid did, it would be overlooked.” 
  • “You are never going to make as much money in ministry as you could have using your skill set in the corporate world.”
  • “You will study 20 hours for a deep, meaningful, inspiring sermon only to be told that it was a ‘nice little talk.'”
  • You will be told in every church where you preach that the ever elusive ‘they’ are not happy with your work.”
  • “You will have every aspect of your work and personality critiqued and criticized. And you will wonder, ‘Should I just quit for the good of the kingdom?’ Don’t quit.”

Beloved brethren, I have allowed you to look over the shoulder of a more experienced preacher as he counsels a younger preacher. Perhaps you have seen by eavesdropping this way how the world looks to the gospel preacher.

I know there are false teachers. I know there are preacher “head cases.” I know young men make young men’s mistakes. But a young man with a good heart is worth preserving.

Could you do this for me, please: Be conscious of the effect your words and actions have on a young man. Understand that if he survives his young years as a preacher, he might become a massively important servant of the Lord in the mission field, in the US, or in a place that trains young men.

Satan wants these young people to quit the church in large numbers. Would you please do everything you can to disappoint him?

“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease, night or day to admonish everyone with tears” (Acts 20:31Acts 20:31
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31 Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears.

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Preachers are responsible for the congregations they serve; congregations are responsible for the preachers who serve them.

The whole story

womenfriends3333

by Paula Harrington

I was talking with a sweet woman recently about her work day. She had gotten confused taking people’s orders, forgotten to give back change, and spent too much time lost in her thoughts.

Many of her customers had grown irritated with her but she had politely apologized for her behavior and gone about her day. She started to silently weep as she proceeded to tell me the whole story.

Her younger sister had lost her fight with cancer the night before. She would have given just about anything, she said, to be able to go to that big town a few hours away and sit with her brother in law that day, but bills were calling and she knew if she took any more time off work, she would lose her job.

I wept with her as she shared her story. Later as I thought back over our time together, I vowed to be more patient with those I come in contact with. Everyone is wounded. Everyone is broken and too many don’t know the hope that is found in Jesus.

Our schedule, stressors, plans, and achievements often wrap us in a cocoon of selfishness. We don’t plan it that way, but life has a way of keeping us focused inward.

However, Jesus instructs us to seek him first and then others (Matthew 6:33Matthew 6:33
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33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

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, Mark 12:30-31Mark 12:30-31
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30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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Today, as you venture into this big world, take the time to be kind to others. Have patience with them and remember that there’s a good chance their worlds are spinning out of control. Love them and offer a listening ear and caring heart.

The world needs love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. People need a friend who will walk beside them and tell them that there is a better way, a better place, and a better life.

Be that friend.

What do you want?

momdaughter444

by Paula Harrington

I recently encountered a skeptical soul who wondered why my congregation was helping his family. His exact words were, “Why are y’all so nice? What do you want?”

I explained that we didn’t want anything other than to show them the love of Jesus. With a raised brow and the wisdom gained from his twelve years, he explained that people don’t help other people without wanting something in return.

He knew that wasn’t how the world works and he knew the world well. He wasn’t belligerent or arrogant. He just found it awfully hard to understand people who would get involved with another, help them, and love them for no apparent reason.

What do you want?

The Lord asked this question to those who hunted him down in the garden. Who were they looking for (John 18:4John 18:4
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4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were happening to him, went forth, and said to them, “Who are you looking for?”

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Was it someone who had loved the unlovable, touched the untouchable, and listened to those without a voice? Was it one not only religious, but compassionate and merciful, or one who spoke words of light in a dark and lonely place? 

Those soldiers and officials couldn’t be looking for someone like that because people like that didn’t exist. Right?

What does your congregation want? Are you known in the community for…

  • Loving, serving, and making a difference in the world around you?
  • Being locked tightly behind double doors?
  • Getting involved with others because they look and act and sin differently from you?
  • Being so set in your ways that you refuse to bring others in?
  • Do you want to be left alone as you go about your Sunday and Wednesday routine?
  • Do you turn a blind eye to the needy, hurting, and lost?

The world is watching and expecting the church to be arrogant and judgmental. Blow their minds.

  • Love because Christ loved you.
  • Forgive because you’ve been forgiven.
  • Give grace when you don’t have to.
  • Don’t just go the extra mile; go out of your way to get there!

Love others so much it makes them wonder why. And when they ask what you want, tell them you want to be like Jesus because the world needs a Savior. Then, introduce them to yours.

Factors of good communication

communicationtheory444

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Communication is almost always listed in the grievances among dating and married couples who come to counseling.

As counselors try to help them through these struggles, three factors must be considered. When they are addressed and accounted for, the couple can begin to make progress.

First, communication must account for personality. Many people have a difficult time expressing their feelings. Instead, they may use other forms of speech.

A quiet husband may get up early, go to work, come home, cut the grass and take out the garbage. His wife gripes because he is not verbally expressing his love. However, he is speaking loudly through his actions and cannot understand her anger.

Someone is not going to become a completely different person in every aspect of life. At some point our personalities are set.

We can all learn to do better to accommodate our spouse. In the one-flesh marriage bond, our spouse is a part of our bodies and we care for them more than we do ourselves (Genesis 2:18-25Genesis 2:18-25
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18 Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. 25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

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Accordingly, it pains us when they are suffering. The effort made to express our feelings will be worth it in the end.

Second, communication must account for trust. We must feel safe as we open ourselves up completely to another person. This trust must be earned and it can be easily destroyed.

When someone has been hurt in the past, they will protect themselves at all costs. Their hesitation is understandable and they may have a difficult time trusting another person. The problem is that we cannot have a one-flesh bond without trust.

Third, communication must account for knowledge. When our loved one allows us into their hearts, we begin to learn more about them. The more we learn, the deeper our communication should become.

The selfish person cannot grow in this area because they do not see anything outside of themselves. We must allow our spouse true access, if they have proven themselves worthy.

True unselfish love will not allow us to hurt the other person without serious pain on our part (Ephesians 5:22-29Ephesians 5:22-29
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22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly;

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). We know everything about our partner, yet we love them anyway. We protect and cherish them and never share their personal thoughts or fears with others.

The groundwork for communication is too often overlooked and couples suffer, as a result. Successful communication requires a large sacrifice as well as courage and patience.

When we have the type marriage God desires, we will be more than willing to do the work required because the joy will be exhilarating.

Kindness is timeless

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Social media brings out the worst in so many people. Anger, hostility, rudeness and profanity have replaced civility and younger generations are accustomed to obscenity as the soundtrack of their generation.

Perceived humor in our day is built on innuendo and without it, this generation is practically speechless.

As we age, we see the trends come and go, and they become less important to us. We can ride the waves in a desperate attempt to remain relevant or we can try the timeless approach.

Regardless of what is considered cutting-edge in any year, the practice of kindness never goes out of style.

We spread flowers, not hate and nastiness, when kind, positive words emanate from us. In so doing, we change the people around us and bring light to dark worlds (Matthew 5:16Matthew 5:16
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16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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God’s people should make kindness a law in their lives (Proverbs 31:26Proverbs 31:26
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26 She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.

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Kindness disarms anger (Romans 12:20Romans 12:20
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20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

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) and transcends time and place so it is never out of fashion. Kindness touches the heart and soul of humanity as nothing else can. We need it desperately in a coarse and hateful world.

If every soul were treated with kindness, so much evil would be overcome. When we add Christ to a kind disposition, it is an unstoppable force for good (Colossians 3:12Colossians 3:12
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12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance;

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Spread kindness, goodness and love to the world and then share Christ with the open heart.

Kindness opens doors that anger would never see. When we lift others above their doldrums, they begin to see the world in a different light. In so doing, we create the possibility that Christ can finally be seen.

Abundant consolation

by Michael E. Brooks

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-42 Corinthians 1:3-4
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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

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A number of Church members and co-workers in South Asia are currently struggling with various problems. One young preacher and his wife lost their anticipated first child to premature delivery.

Another co-worker’s mother has been diagnosed with advanced stage cancer and has undergone surgery and treatment. The continued global economic crisis places virtually all Christian families in under-developed nations in great stress.

One frustration of cross-cultural ministry is the difficulty of bringing comfort. It is hard enough in our own language and among people we know well.

Many think, “I just don’t know what to say.” When different ways of thinking, social expectations, and manners of expression are involved, we really do not know what to say.

We cannot be certain how our well-meant words will be interpreted or whether we may do something that is taboo or offensive. On the other hand we may fail to do something that is expected.

I must continuously remind myself that comfort comes from God. What a great name, Paul ascribes to him — “The Father of mercies and God of comfort.” We are simply channels through which he sometimes works. Notice the progression of activity in the verses quoted above.

First, God comforts us “in all our tribulation.” There is no circumstance in which we can be prevented from experiencing and knowing God’s love and mercy (compare Romans 8:38-39Romans 8:38-39
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38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Secondly, we then can comfort others. As has often been pointed out, we cannot repay God directly for the good he gives us. We show gratitude by service to others of his children (Matthew 25:40Matthew 25:40
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40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers The word for “brothers” here may be also correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, you did it to me.’

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But note that the source of our comfort is that consolation with which God has filled us. Until we have received God’s comfort ourselves we cannot be in position to fully console others.

This does not mean that we must have experienced the exact same tragedy as the person we are seeking to console. All humans know sorrow.

All Christians should know God’s help in dealing with our troubles. Once we are awakened to that knowledge — once our spirits are sensitive to and in tune with God’s spirit of mercy — we are equipped to pass on that wonderful aid to others.

In subsequent verses, Paul adds a third event to this sequence — salvation.

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for entering the same sufferings, which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation” (2 Corinthians 1:5-62 Corinthians 1:5-6
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5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

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It has long been recognized that times of grief and suffering often provide evangelistic opportunity. It is not necessarily the time to begin a Bible Study or an evangelistic appeal. Rather it is the time to live the message by showing the love of Christ as we minister to those in need.

All of us suffer afflictions of various kinds. Comfort is needed because of suffering. The apostle reminds us that these facts can be factors in drawing others to God.

He is the God of comfort — the Father of mercies. Let us turn to him in times of need, and let us bring others to that fountain of blessings.

Unconditional love

by Stan Mitchell

Jesus loves me when I’m good,
When I do the things I should
Jesus loves me when I’m bad,
But it makes him very sad.
(From a children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me”)

I have often heard it said by religious people that “God loves us unconditionally.” Perhaps it’s the way it was said, or the context of the conversation, where the speaker seeks to free himself from his responsibilities that makes we wonder if we have understood God’s love correctly.

God loves us continually, profoundly, graciously.

“But God shows his own love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8Romans 5:8
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8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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He offers forgiveness for every sin, and to every sinner.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:91 John 1:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Even when we have sunk to the lowest, slimiest pits of sin, he still loves us. Even in the pigpen of our own making, our father loves us.

  • His love is unconditional, but his salvation is not.
  • His love is constant, but his mercies are conditional.

The terms he offers are his terms. He demands that we change our lifestyle (“repentance”) — now that’s conditional. And he requires obedience to his will — that’s conditional, too. He commands immersion into Jesus Christ — a condition, to be sure.

Make no mistake, he loves the sinner. But he requires that the sinner leave the pigpen, and return home. Though he might accept me, “Just as I am,” be demands that from that beginning point, I begin to live like him!

“Repent, therefore and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out”(Acts 3:19Acts 3:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,

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