The Daily Link: My Love Be With You All

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The Apostle Paul prayed that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be with the believers in Corinth. Who could ask for more? However, in the next verse, he adds, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). Why? The grace of Christ produces love in our hearts. Love delights in reciprocal love.  

God designed us to love each other. Paul was interested in each person in Corinth. They didn’t constitute numbers on his conversion list or followers of his ministry to whom he could send flattering donation appeal letters. They were individuals created in God’s image, and he loved them.  

Paul wasn’t the type to parachute in and out of people’s lives depending on his “preaching tour schedule.” He knew them intimately. “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Paul’s words express the strongest affection and connection. 

Paul prays this for us: “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). 

The Daily Link: What is Man?

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The incomparable Creator-God’s crowning achievement is humanity. God created man last because he is the center and head of the world that He made. According to Genesis 1:26, God created man in His image and likeness, which Scripture defines in the same verse when describing man’s dominion. Man, like God, is to rule, but only God is the ultimate sovereign. Man is below God but above the animals, which is why in verse 27, God repeats three times that He created humanity in His image.

God created man to be productive and use His resources to His glory, putting him into the garden to dress it and keep it safe. In short, man was created to glorify God in his work and keep evil influences out of his realm. God also created man with the ability to think, reason, and communicate with Himself and other humans. He gave Adam the responsibility to classify the animals, which meant he had to study them and provide them with a name suitable to their natures. God also designed humans to be social creatures, which is why He made the woman. Under God, husband and wife were to manage God’s resources, raise a family, and pass God’s truth to the next generation. Humanity is God’s masterpiece, which leads us to the greatest masterpiece of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll talk about Him next.

The Daily Link: Who Is God?

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God is the premiere person and ultimate reality in the universe. The Bible begins and ends with God. “In the beginning God…then cometh the end…that God may be all in all” (Genesis 1:1, 1 Corinthians 15: 24, 28, King James Bible). God is the Creator-Redeemer. Creation came out of God, history moves along in terms of His redemptive plan, and that plan will successfully conclude when God becomes everything to everyone. In short, God is sovereign, which means He governs what He created.

Unlike the disinterested gods of the nations, God loves humanity, is intimately involved in its activities and reveals Himself to it through the dual revelation of nature and Sacred Scripture. God is greater than His creation (Job 36:26, King James Bible), which means He is outside and over it. God is also good. According to Noah Webster, in his 1828 dictionary, God and good are written the same in the Saxon language (Webster, 1828). The English word “God” is Anglo-Saxon, and they saw God and good as correlative terms, the source of all human happiness. The Hebrew word translated God is Elohim, a plural noun, a Hebrew figure of speech known as the Plural of Majesty, which speaks of the glory, the greatness, the goodness, the love, the righteousness, and the sovereignty of the one true and living God. God has no equal.

The Daily Link: God’s Love Means Twins

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“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (KJV, Matthew 22:37-39).

Biblical faith is about love for God and our neighbors. The Lord Jesus said the second commandment looks like the first. Love for God looks like love for one’s neighbor – they’re twins. What’s a neighbor? People in your sphere of influence.

“We receive Christ not only as a gift by faith, but also as an example of love toward our neighbor, whom we are to serve as Christ serves us. Faith brings and gives Christ to you with all his possessions. Love gives you to your neighbor with all your possessions. These two things constitute a true and complete Christian life; then follow suffering and persecution for such faith and love, and out of these grows hope and patience” (Martin Luther).

“God is very good to us…Let us enjoy His favors with a thankful and cheerful heart; and, as we can make no direct return to Him, [let us] show our sense of his goodness to us by continuing to do good to our fellow-creatures, without regarding the returns they make us, whether good or bad. For they are all His children, though they may sometimes be our enemies” (Benjamin Franklin).

“Now love does not receive his mercy, but faith only; out of which faith love springs, by which love I pour out again upon my neighbor that goodness that I have received of God by faith…we make good works fruits, by which our neighbor is the better, and by which God is honored…by which we know that our faith is no trick of imagination and dead opinion…but a living thing produced by the Holy Spirit” (William Tyndale).

The Daily Link: Proper Reformation Tools

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In 1522, Martin Luther gave a series of “Invocavit Sermons” designed to encourage people to trust in the Word of God rather than violence as a reformation tool. Luther’s exhortations helped restore tranquility and order, thus accomplishing Luther’s task of leading “his congregation away from fanatical enthusiasm back to the spirit of the gospel.”

“…we must also have love and through love we must do to one another as God has done to us through faith. For without love faith is nothing, as St. Paul says, If I had the tongues of angels and could speak of the highest things in faith, and have not love, I am nothing. And here, dear friends, have you not grievously failed? I see no signs of love among you, and I observe very well that you have not been grateful to God for his rich gifts and treasures.”

“I notice that you have a great deal to say of the doctrine of faith and love which is preached to you, and this is no wonder; an ass can almost intone the lessons, and why should you not be able to repeat the doctrines and formulas? Dear friends, the kingdom of God does not consist in talk or words but in activity, in deeds, in works and exercises. For a faith without love is not enough…we also need patience. For whoever has faith, trusts in God, and shows love to his neighbor, practicing it day by day, must needs suffer persecution…A heart thus blessed with virtues can never rest or restrain itself, but rather pours itself out again for the benefit and service of the brethren, just as God has done to it.”

The Daily Link: King Saul, The Lovely

King Saul: The Lovely – By Daniel W. Sheridan

“The beauty of Israel is slain…tell it not in Gath…lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice…Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no…rain, upon you…for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away…Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided…Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul…” 2 Samuel 1:19-23

The Apostle Paul, the famous minister to the Gentiles, was named after the first king of Israel, Saul. Many consider King Saul an infamous man and classify him among the world’s criminals. Saul did some foolish things, to be sure; he didn’t keep his word, pursued David, tried to kill him a few times, almost killed his son, disobeyed God regarding Amalek, and worst of all, consulted a medium! All bad. But his whole life wasn’t bad. In the Scriptures quoted above, King David said, “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.”

David praised the man who persecuted him, calling him “lovely.” Saul had some terrible moments, evil moments, but David never mentions any of those! Look at the string of verses quoted above. Notice the following points:

  1. David calls the man who tried to kill him “beautiful.”
  2. When the news arrives that Saul was KIA, David forbids its publishing lest the news causes the enemies to rejoice.
  3. David wanted to erase the area where Saul died from the map.
  4. David declares that Saul was lovely and pleasant.
  5. David calls upon the women to mourn with him over Saul.

How refreshing to read such an account in a world where people become eternally offended and sever friendships over the slightest offenses, real or pretended. Let us be as gracious as David. After all, he had his bad moments, too, and so do we.

Maybe Paul had David’s words concerning his namesake in mind when he said:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”