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In Revelations 1:8 God states that he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending…it hit me this morning…and maybe I am a little slow sometimes, but this just doesn’t apply to us spiritually or metaphorically, but very personally. For each relationship, situation, new start, He needs to be the beginning and ending of it. Our choices and decisions need to begin with him and end with him. If we are careful to keep God at the start and throughout each decision, we can be sure that our steps will be led by him.

This world is full of religion. You can find a religion that will fit your needs and make you feel good. But what exactly are they offering you? Do they teach the Word of God? Is a change of heart a requirement for the promise of salvation? Is every level of hierarchy with in those religions built on honesty and truth?

From what I have seen of religion today offers nothing but a false hope, a half truth and hypocrisy. This practice in man made religion has been going on for years. In fact, Jesus preached about it. At that time it was the Scribes and Pharisees that were doing a disservice to those that wanted to seek God. In Matthew 23 Christ brings judgment to those that require acts from the people and not themselves. To those that are more concerned with the “law” than a heart change. To those that are busy about works that make them appear to be righteous but are not sincere in their hearts. He concludes this message with verse 23; “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The scribes and Pharisees in Bible times were more concerned with acting like a follower of Christ than being one from the heart, as many religious leaders are today. God requires us to pay more attention to the “weightier matters of the law” those that are most important, judgment, mercy and faith.

In my observation of religion I have seen that many have two of the three. Some have mercy and faith. They preach that God is love and will forgive anything as long as you believe. That you can’t live with out sin, but God is merciful just say “I Believe”. Others are full of judgment, have strict creeds that, and are stingy with mercy. There is any combination that can be made. But if you don’t have all three, you don’t have the complete truth that God has for you. The three principles, judgment, mercy and faith all work together and the result is beautiful.

In order to receive mercy through faith, one has to experience judgment. How can you ask for forgiveness if you have done nothing wrong? Romans 3:23 reads “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Each and every one of us has committed sin. What is sin? Sin is a transgression against God’s law, something that we know is wrong but do it anyways (1 John 3:4) or something that we know we need to do, but we don’t do it. (James 4:17) The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that God is not pleased with this. Romans 6:1 asks “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” the answer in verse 2 is “God forbid.” His plan for us is that we live in communion with him. We cannot do this if sin remains in our life. So judgment comes through the acknowledgement of sin and the need to seek forgiveness or mercy for them. If we fail to do this and continue living in sin, we have a reward, and that is hell. (Psalms 9:16-17) But let’s not forget God’s perfect plan. He does offer mercy to those that seek his forgiveness for their sins. God sent his son, the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live with out sin. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible states that Jesus came to save his people FROM their sins, not to save them while they continue IN their sins. All we have to do to receive this mercy is to confess our sins. (1 John 1:9) It is hard to say that we are wrong and to say sorry, but God loves a humble heart and will draw them close. Once we have been forgiven it is up to us to choose to live sin free every day. Sin is a choice as we discussed earlier and it is with God’s mercy and grace that we are able to choose to follow him in righteousness. We have a responsibility to keep a tight hold on our salvation, 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We are born into God’s family when we have sought forgiveness and received it; we then need to keep ourselves so that the enemy of our souls will have no power over us. Now where is faith in all of this? Ephesians 2:8-9 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We do need to have faith to believe that God can and will save us. That he will keep his promises. Through the power of salvation in us and his presence through the Holy Spirit, we can live each day in a manner pleasing to him. We will not make it to heaven just by doing good things, we cannot save ourselves. We need to accept the blood of Jesus as a payment for our sins and though God’s mercy continue our life with out sin. Our salvation is a work that only God can perform in our lives. It is only when we have acknowledged the judgment of sin and sought mercy through faith that we are able to live as God would have us to, holy, sin free, and in communion with him.

Through all of this we can see that we must have all three, judgment, mercy and faith to live according to God’s plan for his people. Be honest with your self and with God. Don’t be content with just a religious belief, search for a true relationship with God. Seek the truth where ever you go and God will be faithful to bring you to it. It is his desire that you find the truth.

NOTE: Not to negate the fact that we use the Bible only to live by, we can use other publications as tools, to help us better understand different facets of our lives. In this study, we are using The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, which is based on Biblical principles to help give a greater understanding on effectively communicating love to one another.

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There is a time for everything. The Ecclesiastes writer explains this to us.

 Ecclesiastes 3:8  A time to love…

 The time to love, is NOW.

 Love Language #2 – Quality Time

 The one that understands love though the language of “Quality Time” desires more than just being in the same general space. They want to be together focused on something that is enjoyed with full attention. Dr. Chapman reiterates this, “A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity…Togetherness has to do with focused attention.” But on the other hand, quality time is not gazing into each there’s eyes for hours on end, it is doing or discussing something of importance.

 Like with all other languages, quality time has different dialects: quality conversation and quality activities.

 Quality conversation or “sympathetic dialog” focuses on drawing each other out and listening to what is being said with out interrupting or voicing your opinion, unless requested. It can be about ones day, or other topics that are of interest to you. But during the conversation, either partner can’t be doing something else, that would not be considered quality time. Our focus needs to be on one another and not other tasks at hand.

 Quality activities usually have a task involved that is enjoyed by one or both parties, but that is done in love. This dialect can be spoken through cleaning the car, taking a walk, or building a bookshelf, always together. Again there is an emphasis on being focused on each other, more than the task at hand. You goal is to your loved one that you love them.

 If we are not talkers and our loved one is, we need to learn to talk, engage, and express our feelings with them. If we are most comfortable by ourselves doing our own thing, we need to make sure to take the time and spend it with those that we love, especially if they understand love through quality time. Again remember love is a choice and we can choose to communicate love. For our communication to be effective we have to learn the language of those we love.

 Look around you; do some of your loved ones speak the language of “Quality Time”? Have you loved them today?

NOTE: Not to negate the fact that we use the Bible only to live by, we can use other publications as tools, to help us better understand different facets of our lives. In this study, we are using The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, which is based on Biblical principles to help give a greater understanding on effectively communicating love to one another. 

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Love is a CHOICE. We have to choose to love.

This allows us to decide how we are going to treat those around us that we profess to love.

When we are wronged we have a choice, to get even or to forgive.

Love makes requests not demands. When you make a request you give someone an opportunity to choose to express their love when they perform your request. When you demand, the deed is done out of duty and not love.

Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation

All throughout the Bible, we are admonished to consider our words. Proverbs 18:21 reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” What we say and how we say it can greatly affect our relationships.

 To someone that has the love language of “word of affirmation” words are the most important thing. Not only just the words that are spoken but how we say them.

 Affirmation – to assert strongly, declare, announce openly, state as a fact

 If you know someone that understands love through the language of “Words of Affirmation”, affirming words can be spoken in different manners. They can be said to your loved one or they can be spoken to others about that loved one when your loved one is present and when they aren’t.

 Look around you; do some of your loved ones speak the language of “Words of affirmation”? Have you loved them today?

John 4:9  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

 Saints, we need to ask for that living water from the well of salvation. We cannot be content in just standing by the well, talking about it, and appearing to take part. For our soul’s sake, we need to ask and receive the living water.

 As this thought was brought out in the message this morning, it struck me that good Church of God saints can easily get caught up in just standing by the well. We can get busy with the many commitments that we need to take care of and will not take time to be refreshed by that living water. We need to be careful that we hunger and thirst after truth and pure communion with God. It is he alone that can supply that special water. Being around those that are drinking from the well is not enough. Going to church every time the doors are open is not enough. Raising your hand to the song, praying, being involved with the work is not enough. We have to take part in and drink from the well. When we do so, we will have the spirit of God in us leading us and giving us the strength and blessing to carry forth in his work. With out that well of everlasting life springing with in us, all that we do is vein.

 God showed me this morning that I was doing too much of this standing around the well, not putting my cup out for my portion. I was getting too busy, too tired and too late to take the time to drink from the well of salvation. I wasn’t taking the time to read and pray like I should, I wasn’t communing with God enough. Subconsciously I was putting other things, those that kept me busy and tired before God. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness to show us just where we are at, to bring us to the place where we need to make a choice. I am glad to say that my cup is full of living water, and I am not willing to just stand by as others get the blessing. I want my portion and am determined to not settle for anything less.

 May we all examine ourselves to make sure that we are drinking from that overflowing well if salvation; that we take the time to commune with God, that he is very first in all the things that we do. Are you drinking from the well, or has it just become a social gathering spot?

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