Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lord God, increase our love we pray.

Christians in local churches all over the world experience a similar root problem that causes them to be relatively ineffective and unproductive in their lives this side of Heaven. That problem is stated clearly in a recent article by Rev. Tim Barton, "God is never going to change in His love but our love for Him is always in danger of fading."

Please pray for the Christians in Taiwan. Pray that their love grown cold will be kindled anew. Pray likewise and especially for the pastors and missionaries laboring in Taiwan, that they will lead by the example of their own hearts.

Following is a slightly edited version Tim Barton's article. (Emphasis added.)

On our Love for God

When Jesus summed up the entire Old Testament law in two short phrases, it was truly an astonishing thing. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as you love yourself. On these hang all the law and the prophets.”

God has loved His people with an ever-lasting love. If you have put your trust in Christ, you are His. That means you have voluntarily placed yourself into His hands to love you and care for you forever and have declared that He is your God and Savior.

But always in the minds of believers is “How do I show my love for God?” It is a wonderful desire to have. How do we demonstrate love for God? Because if our love for God is not exhibited openly, freely and without restraint...if we hold back...our love will wither like a fading flower.

I believe this is why the Old Testament book of Malachi was written. The love of God’s people was fading. And it is the greatest challenge for the Modern Church. God is never going to change in His love but our love for Him is always in danger of fading.

I encourage you to read and re-read Malachi. It only takes a few minutes, as it is only four chapters or three pages long. I don’t know of any prophecy that is more relevant for the Church today.

By the time this little prophecy was written, the Jews had already been carried away into exile and returned to Jerusalem. Israel, as their forefathers had known it, was long gone. But they were back in Jerusalem, trying in their limited ways to carry on the religious traditions of the past. They really weren’t practicing any of the idolatry of their ancestors. They were orthodox in their beliefs. But they did not love God with all their heart. They consistently held back in their expressions of worship and love for God, and consequently they did not love their fellow man very well either.

That’s what I mean when I say it is a book for today’s church. Even in churches with the most Biblical theology, there seems to be an epidemic of holding back. Over and over people who profess faith in Christ refuse to simply open their hearts and love God with all of it.

You need to learn what opening your heart to God looks like in a normal Christian life and I hope to show you why we should love Him with all of our heart.

If you want a sneak preview, it is this: you should love God because He loved you first and gave his Son as the atoning sacrifice for your sins (1 John 4:10-11).

By Tim Barton

Tim Barton is the founding pastor of Jordan Presbyterian Church in West Jordan, Utah

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