Posts Tagged ‘Love’

2
Nov

Something to Make You Smile

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

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You have probably seen or heard a few of these clever sayings before. This collection of seventeen quips were featured on billboards in Ft. Lauderdale and paid for by an anonymous donor.

Do You Have Any Idea Where You Are Going? —God

Will The Road You’re On Get You To My Place? —God

Need Directions? —God

Follow Me. —God

Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before The Game. —God

C’mon Over and Bring The Kids. —God

Tell The Kids I Love Them. —God

Have You Read My #1 Bestseller? There Will Be A Test. —God

Big Band Theory? You’ve Got To Be Kidding. —God

Loved The Wedding, Invite Me To The Marriage. —God

Need A Marriage Counselor? —God

Keep Using My Name In Vain, And I’ll Make Rush Hour Longer. —God

My Way Is The Highway. —God

We Need To Talk. —God

What Part Of Thou Shalt Not— Didn’t You Understand? —God

That “Love Thy Neighbor” Thing. I Meant It. —God

You Think It’s Hot Here? —God

I Love You, And You, And You, And You . . . —God

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12
May

My Testimony

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

A 6th century mosaic of :en:Jesus at Church Sa...
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I had worked for Uncle Sam for thirty years before I became a disgruntled postal worker.  God rescued me from that situation. My wife, Marie, got me to the Doctor. The Doctor told me, “Don’t even think of going back there. You are through.”

He diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and said that it is common among us veterans of the VietNam war.

That was when I hit the bottom in every way possible—mentally, emotionally and financially. I was sick and broke and in my fifties. I kept beating myself up over every decision I had ever made thinking, “If only I had done this, if only I had not done that.”

What about Romans 8:28, I thought? All things were supposed work together for my good. I was a Christian. Why had God allowed  these things to happen to me? And why wasn’t I seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life?

I asked God to tell me what I was doing wrong. I asked him to show me what he wanted me to do, so I could do it. Then I started reading and studying the Bible for hours every day.

Reading an author’s work makes you feel like you know him, because he reveals himself through his work. This is especially true of the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible. I spent a lot of time with him in his word. I got to know him and his ways. I was pigging out at God’s spiritual buffet and I was loving it.

When I wasn’t reading the Bible, I was thinking about it. I was meditating on the word day and night, just like it says in Psalm One. And that’s when the miracle happened.

I used to be angry all the time. I was very impatient with people and rude to them. I was mad when I when I got up in the morning, and I was mad when I went to sleep at night. But God healed me of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During this time that I was delighting in the Bible, I woke up one morning and my anger was gone. I went to bed crazy as a loon, and woke up perfectly sane. The anger that had been my constant companion for thirty years was gone. It’s still gone, and it is so wonderful to be normal. Now, I am happy all the time because Jesus healed me, and I will never stop thanking him for it.

I am a recipient of God’s love and it is the greatest thing on earth.  Jesus knows me personally and he has changed my life forever. I was broken and he repaired me. He took away my anger and filled my heart with love, and joy, and peace, and self-control. He has equipped me to be patient and kind to others.

All I did was show God some love by spending time with him in his word. He responded to my love by intervening in my life and doing something to help me. That is how good our God is.

It was just like Jesus said in John 14:21,”He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

So that is what I was doing wrong all those years. I was violating the Love Commandment, by not loving God and by not loving my neighbor as myself. And that prevented God from showing me his favor.

Our eternal salvation is a free gift. But God’s other promises are contingent upon obedience to the Love Commandment. If you want to receive what God has promised, you have to love him. You have to love him with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength. And you have to love your neighbor as yourself.

You might think that you love God. But if you have never spent any time with him in his word, then you are not keeping the Love Commandment.

Look at the completed thought that is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. . .”

And look at the last part of Psalm 91, where God promises to protect us from all evil. God says, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

I could fill a book with the things the Spirit of God has taught me since the time I got to know him. In fact, I have filled a book with them.

First, I selected a thousand Bible verses and organized them into topics. Then, I explained how to apply them to your life. The title of the book is The Bible Believer’s Handbook. God helped me write it, and it was published in 2008.

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14
Apr

The Same Spirit That Raised Up Jesus From the Dead

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God does three things for you. He regenerates you, he baptizes you into the body of believers, and he seals you unto the day of redemption. When you love the Lord, he can do more for you, and you know that he is alive in you.

In John 14:15-18, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

This is not just any old Spirit. He is the same Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead, and he is alive in you. He is the most powerful Spirit in the Universe, and He is alive in you. You have access to him 24 hours a day. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.

All of the promises of God apply to you. That’s why you can say with confidence. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory.”

You don’t have to be afraid of anything, because the greater one lives in you. He will protect you, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

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7
Apr

God Loves You As Much As He Loves Jesus

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I know this is hard to believe. Since Jesus said it, it has to be true. It is in the prayer he prayed for everyone who believes in him.

“I am not praying for these alone, but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. . . . so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:20,23)

This is the most amazing thing about God, that even though we don’t deserve it, he loves us anyway. And he loves you and me with such intensity that he sent Jesus to die for us. Because of that, I can see that his love for us is beyond our comprehension. But that was not the end of God’s expression of love for us, it is merely the beginning. There’s more good news.

“And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26)

God provides his children with this kind of love. It is intense, and it vastly superior to natural human love. Jesus gives us something that is outside natural human experience. Natural human love runs out. It is weak, and it quits. God’s love is like this:

“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, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

This is a description of the love God has for us. It is deep and it is strong. It is the same love that the Father has for Jesus. He shares it with you. As an excellent Father, God provides everything you need to equip you for this life.

He gives you the thing he requires you to have, which is the love of God, and he expects you to use it. He requires that you love him, and love your neighbor as yourself.

The greatest need in the world is for more followers of Jesus who understand this and do it.

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24
Mar

God Rewards Everyone Who Loves Him

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

So I finally found the answer to the question, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life? I had done a lot of things to gain God’s favor, but I had left out the most important thing of all, which is to love God. That is what he has commanded us to do.

I had to read through the Bible several times, and study my core of Bible verses, before I saw it. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to me. But when he did, I saw it everywhere I looked. Of course! This is what I had missed. Look at what Romans 8:28 actually says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE GOD . . .”  This promise does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to everyone who loves God. This is one of God’s most amazing promises, that he will intervene in the circumstances of your life.

In Psalm 91, God has promised to protect you from all kinds of harm. But this promise is conditional too. Look at what God says in verses 14-16. “Because he hath set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath know my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

God’s promise of divine protection is contingent upon your obedience to his commandment. That commandment is to love him by loving your neighbor as yourself.

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17
Feb

You Shall Come Forth As Gold

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I was at home, building a tool shed, when God‘s still small voice spoke to me inside. “You shall come forth as gold.” I knew that it was God for two reasons. It was completely out of context with what was going on in my thought life; and, it was a direct reference to a Bible verse. “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) I knew that something important was about to happen to me. I just didn’t know what it was.

I am always excited to hear from the Lord, but I was uneasy about this “fire” business. Immediately, I told my wife, Marie, “Good news, we’re going to come forth as gold. The not-so-good news is that, apparently, we are about to go through some kind of fire.”

The first thing we thought of was King Nebucannezzar’s fiery furnace. But we were sure that we had already been there and done that. This was something that had not happened yet. I knew of two verses where Jesus is associated with fire. But I had never understood either of them.

This is what John the Baptist said about Jesus. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall Baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11). But the verse that bothered most was this one, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughtly purge his floor, and gather his wheat unto the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” ( Matthew 3:12)  Honestly, I was afraid of that fire.

I should have known that the Lord would not do anything to hurt me. He would never throw me into a burning fiery furnace. He was doing something to help me. God’s fire is on the inside and he doesn’t burn us. But he does destroy evil desires, addictions, and cravings. That is the most effective way for us to get rid of them. He is a purifying fire who burns up all the trash that’s in our hearts, and leaves only the good things of God.

Here’s an example of what the fire of God has done for me. I used to have a terrible problem with anger. I was like a volcano that could erupt at any time. My wife and kids, and co-workers were terrorized by my fits of rage. That was the first thing to go. It was obvious that God did it because it disappeared overnight, and it has never come back.

I am telling you this because I know that God will do the same for you. He makes it possible for us to live the the Christian life. The Bible is true, and you can apply everything it says to your life.

Let me show you something I find fascinating. John the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets. There was a long period where God was silent between the time of Malachi, and that of Jesus and John the Baptist. Look at what God said through his prophet Malachi.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:1-3)

God said that Jesus would refine us like silver and gold, which means, burning away all the impurtities. It excites me to realize that he is presently doing what God said he would do in my life, and in the lives of everyone who is born of God. It’s something that he does for us because he loves us.

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27
Jan

How to Obtain God’s Favor

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I thought that all I had to do was to believe in Jesus and what the Bible says about him. Then, all the promises of God would be fulfilled in my life. But, I didn’t realize how shallow my “belief” was. It was just mental assent to the truth of God’s word. You really couldn’t call it “faith,” which is belief in action.

I was expecting to see good things—peace. and joy, and prosperity, but I wasn’t receiving them. I knew that something was wrong, but I had no idea what it was. I had a desire to please God, but I didn’t know how.

I took my family to church every time the doors were open. I was a tither. I sang in the choir, passed the collection plate, and worked in the nursery. I did everything I could think of to obtain God’s favor. But I had missed the most important thing of all.

Eventually I found out what I was doing wrong. I want to pass it on to you, so you can benefit from my mistake. When I was doing all those things, I wasn’t motivated by love for others. I was doing them for me.  I was crying out to God saying, “Lord, bless me, bless my family, prosper me, prosper my family.” I wasn’t really doing anything that benefited anybody but myself. I didn’t dislike other people, I just didn’t notice they were there. I wasn’t loving my neighbor, I was just loving myself.

I was violating the Love Commandment, and that prevented God from blessing me. How could God bless the people who were obeying him, and then bless me while I was disobeying him.

I was sinning and I didn’t even know it. But God delivered me from it. That’s when I began to learn the value of the Love Commandment. God showed me that it is appears throughout the Bible. For example, Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . .”

So, this promise doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies to those who love God. We know that loving God means keeping his commandments, and by keeping the Love Commandment, we fulfill them all.

Look at what God says in 2 Chronicles 24:20, “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” God cannot possibly bless you while you are violating his Love Commandment.

The Love Commandment is not optional, it’s mandatory. It’s the main thing that he requires. If you want to obtain God’s favor, you have to observe the Love Commandment.

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6
Jan

You Must Be Born Again

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

There are millions of people on the planet who think they are Christians, but they’re mistaken. They’re good people and they mean well, but they have never understood the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. They haven’t received it. They have simply chosen the brand they like from the many varieties of Christian religion.

A real Christian bases his life on the doctrines and teachings of Jesus. But most people have no idea what Jesus taught. It’s recorded in the Bible, but there is a serious lack of knowledge of the Bible throughout the world.

One of the most valuable truths that Jesus revealed to us is this: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7)

Do you remember what 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Comparing these two scriptures shows us that having Jesus living in your heart and being born again are the same thing.

Love for others is the litmus test that reveals whether a man is born again, or not. Natural fleshy men do not love their neighbor on their own apart from God. You shall know them by their fruit. Is there love in them, or not?

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his neighbor abideth in death.” (1 John 3:14)

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17)

The answer is that Jesus does not dwell in him. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

We can’t just design our own version of Christianity the way we want it to be. We have to follow Jesus’ instructions. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He says that we must be born again, and that’s the way it is. There is no other option, except for death.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

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30
Dec

God’s Love Lives In You

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

When I was a child, I believed that Jesus lived in my heart, and that was all I knew.  I was trying to explain this to my children when I realized that I didn’t understand it myself. All I had was a child’s concept of Jesus, that picture where he is knocking on a heart-shaped door. I had opened the door to my heart and let him in, and then ignored him for twenty years. I barely knew the Lord because I spent no time with him.

Fortunately for me, I changed my ways soon after that. And over the next thirty years, I spent a lot of time fellowshipping with Jesus in his word. I can truthfully say that I know the Love of God. He is my best friend and I highly recommend him to you. He will meet all your needs, and he will give you the desires of your heart. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will protect you and deliver you from trouble. He will help you, comfort you, and heal you. He will adopt you as his own dear child. And when you die, he will take you to heaven to live with him forever.

Dear Reader, this is my prayer is for you: “For this cause I bow my knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)

When you were born spiritually, or “born again,”  Jesus came to live in your heart.  According to the Bible, Jesus is the Holy Spirit.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul: the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

When Jesus comes to live in you, you will know it. You will have a supernatural love for others. That is your assurance that you have been born again, and “the earnest of your inheritance.”

“And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”  (1 John 3:24)

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

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23
Dec

God Gives Us His Kind of Love

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Abraham knew God and trusted him. He was willing to do everything that God required of him. He knew that God loved him and would not harm him or his son Issac.

Abraham didn’t know God’s plan. The Bible says he thought that God would raise his son, Issac, from the dead. He was walking by faith when he told his servants, “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

When Issac asked him about the lamb for the offering, he said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb . . .” (Genesis 22:8)  You have to appreciate the beauty of God’s word here because of the double meaning of these prophetic words.

God provided a ram for the sacrifice that day. And then he provided his Son Jesus as a sacrifice for all of us, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Our God is so amazingly generous. He is still providing the sacrifice that he requires. And he gives us the kind of love we need to keep the Love Commandment.

The love that God provides is far superior to natural human love. It’s much deeper and stronger. Natural human love runs out, but God’s love never runs out. It keeps going and going.

The love of God is available to everyone who knows the Lord Jesus Christ. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5)

And look at what this says. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . .” (Galatians 5:22 NIV)  These is the same description of God’s love we see in 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter). This is what God is like, and how he wants us to be. The good news is that God’s Holy Spirit supplies us with this kind of love.

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