Anthem Camarillo is part a family of churches helping people find their way back to God. The Anthem family of churches is united around shared mission, vision, values, and submission to the Lordship of King Jesus. In our cities, we are working to obey Jesus in helping people find their way back to God.
This is it, this is the last week before Christmas. And what better theme to think on than love. The reality of many of us having a ton of time between now and Christmas is pretty slim. And now that storm watch of 2019 is upon us it just complicates everything.
So we are going to keep this one short. We learned this week that love in the New Testament is more than a feeling or emotion, it is a way of treating people that was defined by Jesus himself: seeking the well-being of others regardless of their response.
We are going to share some passages to meditate on (read through slowly more than once) and a few questions to ponder. My hope for you this week is that you would be able to grab a few moments here and a few moments there to sit and receive/ reflect on God’s love. May his love propel you forward and motivate you as you engage with celebrating the birth of Jesus and approach the New Year.
Here are a few passages to reflect on this week.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
- Isaiah 54:10
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:38-39
There are so many loves that come and go. How do these verses reinforce the permanency of God’s love in your life? What sort of things get in the way of you receiving God’s love?
But God demonstrates his own love toward us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
- Luke 23:34
I for the longest time felt like I had to earn God’s love, either by doing a ton of good things, or by reading my bible for x amount of days, or abstaining from sin. I felt like I had to clean myself up before feeling like I could receive God’s love. How do verses like these change the way we view God’s love?
Asking for and receiving forgiveness are key ingredients in experiencing Gods love. If the love of God feels distant, maybe its been a while since you’ve practiced confession (agreeing with God about sin in your life) and repentance (change from wrong belief to right belief). I’d encourage you to break out a journal or note pad or something and actually write out the things that perhaps you’ve been holding on to or needing to confess.
Ex. Jesus I confess (agreeing with God about my sin) that I’ve not been loving my neighbor as myself. (repentance)The truth is you’ve created me to love others the way you loved me. Thank you for forgiving me! Help me love my neighbors like you would.
As you do this watch how the Lord covers you with his love.
A New commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
- John 13:34-35
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
The love of God has never been intended to be something that stops with us. It is always made to affect us, and be shared through us. What keeps you from sharing the love of Jesus with others? As you approach Christmas and the New Year think about how the Lord may be challenging you to grow in sharing his love?(try and be specific i.e. in your workplace, at home with you kids, with your roommate, family members, people at your school, maybe even someone's name comes to mind)
Here is a beautiful prayer from Paul for us and the Church.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
- Ephesians 3:14-21