Love, Slothful

Abound in Love

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12

Abound in love, one toward another the apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians. Thessalonica also known as Salonica is the second largest city in northern Greece. Religion in Greece today was influenced by the apostles like Paul and Timothy who had visited Thessalonica during the first century A.D. The Greek Orthodox Church encompasses most of the population’s religion. Through Paul’s writings to the Thessalonians, we can learn how the people became a model servant, brother, and a believer in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How the word was preached in power and in the Holy Spirit, [see 1 Thessalonians 1:5]. The Thessalonians became followers of Paul and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Thessalonians spread their faith in God. They have turned to God from idols and established the work of faith through love to serve the living God. How did they do it?

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3

It was their work of faith and labor of love that increased and spread throughout the city the gospel of God. The apostle Paul’s example was to nurse them into the gospel through love and by not expecting anything of them as far as financial donations. Paul did not charge them for his preaching, but the power of his preaching through the Holy Spirit convicted their hearts. Paul sent Timothy to help establish and comfort them in the gospel of Christ. Thus, the Thessalonians were reassured in their faith and love in Christ to walk in hope until the time of the Lord’s return. Such revelations did Paul gave the Thessalonians in his writings to them to continue in Faith and as they continued in faith, God will perform it. God will provide what is needed. Sanctification is the will of God Paul told the Thessalonians. That is as believer’s we are to be kept holy and purify our heart from all that is unclean such as fornication. Are we a clean vessel of honor? The Thessalonians became a model for the believers to walk in hope.

God has called us to be holy and therefore separated from all forms of sin.  Cleansed from all impurities in order to be made holy and apart for God’s purposes. The Thessalonians had done this, and they were taught from God to love one another. Thus, Paul wanted to see them to increase more and more [see 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10].

That ye study to be quiet, and do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are outside, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

What does study to be “quiet” mean? It means not to be a busybody or do-gooder in the affairs of others. A busybody who goes from house to house to speak things they ought not to speak. This does not edify anyone. The purpose to be quiet is to do your own business by working and walking honestly. Not to be idle and lazy. Not to be without purpose. To study to become purposeful in whatever your hands find to do. The gifts and talents given to you in order to create a meaningful life. Your work/employment is what helps you to walk honestly and that you are without any lack or needs. Let us consider what Proverbs has to say about the way of the slothful.

“The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”

Proverbs 15:19

The slothful man is as an hedge of thorns. This means he has built up a fence that has thorns. Thorns are pricking at him for his lack of nothingness. This means you have no future. Even ill-gotten gains do not have a future when they are caught in dishonesty. The apostle Paul set the example by working with his own hands as to not charge the Thessalonians for the preaching of the Gospel. Paul exclaimed this of himself to the Thessalonians in the second chapter. They were witnesses of Paul’s behavior. He encouraged them to walk worthy as a child of God, who called them into the kingdom of God. It was the word of God that effectually worked in them to believe and then to walk accordingly. Thus, we have the following scripture to keep in mind what is important and that it is the Lord only who is the avenger.

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we have forewarned you and testified.”

1 Thessalonians 4:6

As Christians we have passed from death to life, and we now know that vengeance belongs to the Lord God. Violence and killings always lead to death. To those who do acts of violence, beware of your own soul as to where you will be in the afterlife. Paul teaches to abhor evil and cling to what is good. Paul tells us to love without hypocrisy. Love has no pretense. As a child of God there is no pretending to be what we are not. As Paul was an example to the Thessalonians, so they became an example to the world. There was no act of pretending or making a false claim when it came to their own behavior. Paul preached the exact same thing to the Romans in chapter 12, verse 9 to 12. Let us all love without hypocrisy and be kind to one another with brotherly love, not slothful in business, but serve the Lord and rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue in prayer always. Let us abound in love as the time grows near to the coming of our Lord.


Love, Spiritual Gifts

Follow After Love

Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”

1 Corinthians 14:1

Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts. Love is the key to any kind of ministry one may have as a Christian. Love is the unselfish act of giving of oneself. If love does not reign in your heart, then there is nothing but following selfish pursuits. Instead of love there is coveting, a wanting and strong desire to have something, and usually it is what someone else has. Love in essence is sharing with one another.

Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Romans 13:8

No matter what subject we may deal with concerning life in the Bible, the theme of love pops up among the issues of the heart of man. We try to teach our children the meaning of love and sometimes we fail as parents. We must believe in the love of God that He sent us His only son. We must have that love living in our heart by the spirit of God. The living breath of the Holy Spirit residing in our heart to remind us about love. We must know the fondness, warmth, and tenderness of our Lord’s love to sacrifice himself for all mankind. This is so we can be reconciled to God and to each other. This is God’s ministry, and it is always done through love. It is no wonder that the apostle Paul is reminding the church at Corinth that love never fails and is the key to whatever we do in life in general. Our actions will reveal at times that we are sometimes not walking in love. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 through 14 the apostle Paul is speaking about the spiritual gifts and how those gifts are to be used through love.

Pure love within itself is a ministry of God within the body of Christ. I can remember attending a church where the people were zealous for the spiritual gifts. It was like being in a nursery where children were grabbing toys and showing off what they had. It is this attitude that the apostle Paul was dealing with at the church in Corinth. We do not lord our gifts over each other since this brings jealousy and discord in the body. The baptism of the Spirit is meant to bring the body of Christ together and God through the Holy Spirit gave man gifts to benefit the body. That is why Paul states, “for by one Spirit where we all baptized into one body,” whether we are jews or Greeks [1 Corinthians 12:13]. We must also remember that the gifts work through the same Spirit and it is the Spirit of God that gives the gifts as he will. Not as man wills. It is the Holy Spirit that bestows the gifts for service unto men.

In other word the gifts are not to be used for selfish reasons. For God hath set the members, everyone in the body, as it hath pleased him [ 1 Corinthians 12:18]. There are many members in the body of Christ so that the ministry of Love continues to edify all people within the body of Christ. If the gifts are given as it pleases God, no man can boast that it is exclusively his gift alone. We must remember that it is through God’s grace that we are given gifts for the service of those who need the knowledge of the Lord. Paul tells us we ought not to think ourselves more highly than another [see Romans 12:3]

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”

Romans 12:6

It is by separate parts in relation to the body of Christ that through faith the gifts are ministered to each member within the body of Christ. So, what are the spiritual gifts within the body? Paul tells us about the diversities of operations of the gifts and how God works in all through the manifestation of the Spirit that is given to every man to profit. This is to profit the body of Christ within a congregation. The listing is given in chapter 12 of 1st Corinthians in verses 8 to 10.

For to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, various kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

The apostle Paul tells us no matter what gift is bestowed among us; it means nothing without love residing within our hearts. That is why He exclaims that we should follow after love. It is all right that we desire spiritual gifts, but Paul desires that we would all prophesy. Why is prophesy a better gift? Paul gives us the answer why, in verse 2 and 3 of 1st Corinthians chapter 14.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tonque speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him; however, in the spirit he speaketh mysteries, But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Notice the 3 key words that Paul states, edification, exhortation, and comfort. Revelation, teaching in instruction, and to bring comfort for those who are suffering that is the ministry in love. We should pray for the gifts of the spirit for edification of the body. Look at verse 12 of 1st Corinthians chapter 14, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Pray for understanding, for understanding is fruitful to the body, including yourself. We can all prophesy and sing in the spirit but pray for interpretation so everyone can benefit from what the message is that God wants us to hear. If it is done in love everyone will benefit from the message. There is no reason why the church cannot function in unity where gifts are concern.

Let us remember that in the early church there was liberty for the ministry of the gifts to function and more so for prophesy. All prophesies are to be judged and to be compared to the word of God. I have always known this to be true within the body of Christ. Prophesies given within the body was always a part of scripture or for someone who needed healing within the body. There is an anointing presence of the Spirit among the people when God’s spirit is allowed to move freely. There is a unity in faith to see God move within the congregation, when the focus is on the love of God to move. It is a marvelous thing to have witnessed, and I thank God that through my travels I have witnessed such love and blessings in certain congregations. Follow after love, and you cannot go wrong, for love is the fulfillment of the law of Christ.

“Give Thanks to the Lord, for His love is everlasting.”


Healing, Love, Mercy

Bless the Lord, O my Soul

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.

Psalms 103:1-4

Bless the Lord, O My Soul, and do not forget all his benefits. Do not forget all his benefits! It seems fit that we should be reminded of all his benefits and in Psalms 103 David exclaims with praise on his lips the benefits of God in this Psalms. We are not to forget what good things the Lord has done for us. The benefits are then listed in verse 3 starting with forgiveness and healing for all diseases at the top of the list. We should hold onto the benefits of the Lord, and forgiveness and healing are in the atonement for each person to receive. In Matthew chapter 9, we read about the sick man of the palsy, lying on a bed, and Jesus seeing their faith told the man of the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee, [Matthew 9:2].” Later on in chapter 9 Jesus exclaims that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins and He told the man sick of the palsy to arise take up thy bed and go to thine house. He did so as it was spoken.

“And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with diver’s diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”

Matthew 4:24

Jesus was famous for healing all diseases and he even gave his disciples power over all devils and to cure all diseases [ see Luke 9:1]. We know that our Lord was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed [see Isaish 53:5]. We must not forget that not only sin may be a part of sickness but oppression from the Devil can bind a person like the daughter of Abraham in Luke 13:16 whom Satan had bound for 18 years. Any kind of disease does not come from the Lord God. In verse 4, it states, who redeemed thy life from destruction, and crowns thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Only Christ has this power to redeem our life for He is the resurrection and the life. Our life belongs to the Lord, and he keeps his promises to those who believe. He will keep our life in the resurrection and His loving-kindness and tender mercies toward us will not fail. Do you believe this? Read on to verse 12. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Wow! This is His mercy towards us, and it is everlasting.

Is he satisfying your mouth with good things? So that your youth is renewed like the eagle? Are you waiting upon the Lord? In Isaiah 40:31, it states that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” If you are feeling burned out and weary, it is time to wait upon the Lord to renew your strength. It is time to lean upon the Lord to bring you peace and to renew your soul and mind from the things of this world. It is time to commune with the Lord and ask him to bring the Holy Spirit refreshing so that you can mount up with wings like the eagle and soar. Have you ever watched an eagle soar in the sky? This last week I watched an eagle soar as it got lift under his wings and soared up higher to new heights up in the sky. This is what we should be able to do; to soar up to new heights above the oppression of the devil. We shall walk and not faint. O Bless the Lord. O my soul and all that is in me, bless His holy name.

It was midnight when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. An earthquake came suddenly that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and all the doors were open, and the bands were loosed from the prisoners. The keeper of the prison awoke and saw the doors open and drew up his sword to kill himself. Paul shouted to him “do not harm yourself” we are all here [see Acts 16:28]. The keeper of the prison was saved and baptized. He washed the stripes of Paul and Silas and fed them rejoicing and believing in God. This is satisfying your mouth with good things. Rejoicing and praising God for what He has done. God bringing Paul and Silas the victory to soar to new heights. Having their wounds of strips treated and receiving food for their hunger along with gaining a new friend into the fellowship of the Lord and then being released from jail. Such wonderous acts of God. As it is exclaimed in the very next verse of 6 in Psalms 103, “the Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed.”

Paul and Silas were being oppressed because they had rebuked a spirit of divination out of a maid [see Acts 16:18]. The maid’s master saw that their hope for money was gone and accused them. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in jail. Paul and Silas were abused, ill-treated, and persecuted for freeing a woman of divination. Sometimes for no reason at all we can be abused or ill-treated at work or at home. Sometimes it grates on our being about the injustice of having to endure the aggravation. Paul was grieved by the maid’s actions and exclaimed in the name of Jesus Christ come out of her. We do not think about being mournful of those under an oppressor such as a spirit or devil, yet Jesus himself freed them from the oppression. We must remember in the last days many will be oppressed and in need of healing and relieve from being oppressed. Pray not only for yourself but those around you.

Is this not what Paul and Silas did? And the Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed. Oh! Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Let us remember thy loving kindness and mercy to heal our body of sickness and to execute righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed. May you soar to new heights and be renewed like the eagle. He will heal all diseases and redeem your life from destruction and death. He will crown you with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Let us Bless the Lord forever and remember His benefits. May He always satisfy our mouth with good things. Share the goodness of the Lord with others and soar to new heights.


Justification, Love, Righteousness

Perfect Peace


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed o thee, because he trusted in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

The world is a dusty dirty place and we as Christians must walk in it every day. There are times when conflict and the daily grime we experience weighs heavy upon our heart to bring us down. It is no wonder that Jesus said to shake off the dust of your feet in Matthew 10:4. We go out to work, play, and buy and it is not always pleasant. We witness anger, arguing, and nasty words not worth mentioning, but see no peace. Visiting someone’s house who may or may not be receptive to what you have to say can be nerve wracking.  Some do not want to hear what you have to say because you’re a Christian. We may want to tell the world what God has given us, but we are hit in the face or told to shut up. Has this happened to you? Has someone walked away from you because you are a Christian? Some may even say, “Oh! you think you are so righteous.” It happened to me.  I just looked upon the person with sadness in my heart, for they were speaking judgement rather than the love of God. This is a reflection upon themselves that they are not what they want to be. In fact, no one is righteous before God.

Only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God who died, and arose from the dead, have been given the gift of Christ righteousness. The word righteous is a Hebrew word “ tsadiyq,” meaning to be upright or just. This speaks about an upright or just man. The meaning is of a just man because that person is right with God and follows God’s commandments. As a child of God, we carry the peace of God with us everywhere we go. If you are not received, when you depart, shake off the dust of your feet. Why? Shaking off the dust of our feet is a testimony against them [see Luke 9:5]. This speaks to the day of judgement, and your peace should be return to you. We are to be in perfect peace no matter what happens in the world. God’s peace should reign within our hearts. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” [John 14:27]. As Christian we see with different eyes because of Christ.

Because of Christ we are a new creation. We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation. This is the ministry of atonement for our sins, for judgement came upon us all, but through Christ we have the gift of justification toward life [see Romans 5:18-19]. We have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. If our mind is anchored in Christ, we will have perfect peace within our heart and soul. Our trust is in what Jesus has accomplish for us on the cross. Paul states that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ,” [see Romans 5:1]. In fact, the whole fifth chapter of Romans 5 speaks about our justification. It is about living in the grace of God and having hope. Paul affirms that through tribulation, that we experience, we will learn patience and hope. We are not ashamed because the love of God is in our hearts. Love is the fulfillment of the law [see Roman 13:10]. All things must be done through love, or it means nothing, and what is done is done in vain. That is why the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13, “now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Love makes the world go round. . .love is what we humans need. Love is what God gave us through his son Jesus. That love gave us perfect peace. As Christians we are restored because we trust in the Lord.  That is what Isaiah was talking about in chapter 26. It is a testimony of the restored and the path of the just.  Jesus Christ is our strength when we are weak. He is our peace, if our mind is firmly anchored in him. We are not to be anxious about anything, but to pray and ask God for help. “Let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” [Philippians 4:7]. This is a promise that God gave us that we ourselves would have perfect peace, if our mind and heart is anchored in Christ Jesus. If we do not have peace, we must ask the Lord why? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what has cause the peace to leave. Remember a right relationship with God is an open relationship where nothing is hidden.

I remember singing this worship song titled, “Peace Give I To Thee,” at youth meetings in 1974. I also had the album. Let this song resonate within your heart and share it with others as a reminder of who gives us peace, faith, hope, and love. May God’s perfect peace be with you at all times.


Fruit of the Spirit, Holy Spirit, Love, Sanctification

The Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Ah! Juicy sweet fruit in a bowl, but how does that relate to the Spirit? Fruit in this passage of scripture is from the Greek word “Karpos,” which means fruit of the trees. I always find it interesting in deciphering a moral or spiritual lesson of what is written in the Bible. What about the word “Spirit”? The Greek word is “Pneuma,” and in Galatians here the word Spirit is capitalized, so it means it is talking about a personality and character. It is talking about the Holy Ghost the third person of the Trinity. The Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us and not by our own self-effort. The Apostle Paul is talking about the character of the Holy Spirit, which should be a reminder to us that the true Spirit always points to Christ and has the character of Christ; therefore, love, joy, peace, along with self-control will be the character of a true Christian.

We are to be conformed to the image of the Son [see Romans 8:29], so we will have the Son’s character working through us to reveal good fruit ready to be picked from the tree. The Spirit helps us to become free from our sinful habits and to become more like Christ. This is part of the sanctification process of every Christian. The continual renewal by the Holy Ghost to be set a part for Christ. 1st Thessalonians 4:4 states, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor. This is the will of God. We are set apart for the Lord and being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. Paul tells us where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We must not abuse that liberty we have in Christ and go against anyone and do them harm [see Galatians 5:13]. We are not to be consumed by doing evil to one another. What did Paul say in verse 14 of this same chapter, “for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In order to bear the good fruit of the Spirit one must receive essential nutrients. Conditions of a fruitful life for a Christian are cleansing, abiding, and obedience.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:4 KJV

We abide in Christ through faith. And it is through faith that we ask for help to have our heart cleansed on a daily basis. There is not a day that I do not ask God to forgive me for my behavior of complaining, getting angry, or acting selfish. Sometimes we ignore our behavior, but he wants us to take those things to the Lord in prayer. Abiding in the vine is also seeking God’s word. Reading about who He is and what is the will of God should be done on a daily basis. Jesus said, “if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” [see John 15:7]. Jesus goes on to say that we are to continue in His Love. This is where obedience comes into the picture. Read and ask, read and ask and it shall be done. Read, ask for His love to rule your heart, and serve one another through that love He has given us. Abide in Christ and stay connected into the vine and you will fine that love, joy, and peace will come forth in your life.

Take time to read the following scripture: John 15:1-14, and Galatians 5:13-26, and see how they relate to each other. Cleansing, abiding, and obedience are what Jesus is speaking out in John chapter 15. See how the apostle Paul explains the difference between the flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit and that we are called to serve one another in love.

Listen to Abide in My Love by Inge Schultz from the album “Send The Light.”

This song is taken from the gospel of John 15.