Posts Tagged ‘love’


NOTHING (Part 1)

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor powers…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Paul concludes his powerful discourse on spiritual life with encouraging us to believe. In these final two verses he lists ten things that he is convinced can never separate us from the love of God:

1) “death“. Even if our bodies die or are put to death by cruel persecution against Christ, it doesn’t interrupt His love for us. From a worldly perspective, it may appear that God has let us down, but life is more about our soul that about our body, which is destined to die someday anyway.

2) “nor life“. Sometimes a worse enemy than death, the pursuit of life itself can stand in the way of God’s best for us. I have watched many Christians over the years sidestep God’s best for them chasing the dollar or human approval. Even that can’t make God stop loving us.

3) “nor angels“. Angels are ministering spirits and have powerful authority in this world. As God’s messengers, they help us in discovering God’s path for us. But even if we get too dependent upon seeking angelic revelation, it cannot hinder God’s love for us.

4) “nor principalities“. Paul describes “principalities…and powers” as “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Principalities are likely demonic forces that are locked into places of power such as a community or organization. Even these spiritual strongholds cannot stand in the way of God’s love for us.

5) “nor powers“. Akin to principalities, “powers” are likely spiritual forces in people’s lives or attitudes that cannot be reasoned with or persuaded with logic. But even these spiritual powers cannot hinder or stand in the way of God working his love out in our loves.

We’ll look at the other five things that can’t hinder in tomorrow’s final blog in this series. Meanwhile, be encouraged. The “love” of God is more than a feeling He has for us; its a commitment to work His own will out in our lives (predestination).




   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Paul had just stated that external pressures can never separate us from overarching love of God (v. 35). Now Paul adds a militaristic statement to all this:

In all these things…” refers to the seven external pressures that he had listed in verse 35. No matter what the world may throw our way, it cannot hinder or stop God’s love for us. We are not worldly minded, but spirit-minded (vv. 9-10). External worldly pressures don’t rock our confidence in Christ.

…we are more than conquerors…“. How can a person be more than a conqueror? This King James Version translation may not be the best interpretation for what Paul is telling us here. Actually, the Greek word used here is ‘hypernikomen’. Note the prefix: ‘hyper’. It means what you think. But a better translation might be ‘Super Conquerors’. We don’t always conquer all in the natural world, but we always conquer strongholds in the spiritual world.

…through Him that loved us.” Who loved us? Jesus Christ (v. 35). I don’t conquer in my own strength; I’m a Super Conqueror through Christ. Paul said later, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Our only limitation is our ability to stay attached to the Vine (John 15:5).

We need to stay spiritually focused as we walk through this journey. Then we can always win. Go Team, Go.


Tags: , , ,



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35).

Since God went way beyond our understanding in giving His own Son to redeem us from sin (v. 32) and there is no one who can now condemn us who are forgiven (vv. 33-34), what can limit God’s love for us? What is greater than these that can cause God to stop loving us? Nothing.

He lists seven things in particular that might separate us from loved ones, but can never separate us from God’s love:

1) “Shall tribulation?” That’s any kind of test or hard time that we find ourselves in. God still loves us.

2) “Shall…distress?” That’s any kind of stress or trauma that we might fall into. God still loves us.

3) “Shall…persecution?” That’s any kind of wrong treatment or injustice served our way because of prejudice. God still loves us.

4) “Shall…famine?” That’s when hard times comes and there’s not enough food to eat (literally). God still loves us.

5) “Shall…nakedness?” That’s when poverty strips us of all dignity and provision (linked to famine). God still loves us.

6) “Shall…peril?” That’s any kind of danger that might come near us. God still loves us.

7) “Shall…sword?” In our culture, that would be more like a gun or knife or physical threat. God still loves us.

These things are all worldly dangers and threats that will never come from God. The implication is that they really don’t matter when we are in the love of God. Christians spend too much time seeking worldly blessings rather than heavenly blessings. That’s where God always leads us. And this all connects to Paul’s promises in Romans 8:28-29.

In Christ, you can’t be unloved!




   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts, Uncategorized

Love…does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5). In this verse the Apostle Paul gives us four things that love is not. Here Paul continues to describe what Godly Agape love acts like in ministry. He gives us four specific mannerisms that are not results of God’s love, but our own sinful hearts:

1) “Love…does not behave itself unseemly“. Whatever is in my heart will affect my actions. If I have bitterness in my heart, it will come out in my behavior. If I have peace in my heart, others will not see chaotic, rude behavior, they will see confidence. If God’s love for others rules my attitudes, everyone around me can see that in my behavior. So, how has your behavior been today and what really motivated that behavior?

2) “Love…seeks not her own“. Having God’s love in our hearts is not selfish, but selfless. Love isn’t about what it can get, but what it can give. Caring about others enough to help them take progressive steps is what love develops in us. In the church setting, it means we take time to listen to others’ problems instead of using peoples for our own ends.

3) “Love…is not easily provoked“. It doesn’t take much to offend some people. They have a short fuse. If things don’t go their way, they step up the pressure until they get their own way. But, its not that way when God’s love is motivating us. We learn to be on a mission for God and we don’t get offended when stupid people do stupid things. We learn patience, like God was patient with us.

4) “Love…thinks no evil“. Love doesn’t look for deception or wrong. It looks for the best in people. Love isn’t blind; you keep both eyes open and don’t get caught; you hold others accountable. But, love believes the best, not the worst. It hopes for a better result tomorrow than today. Love isn’t negative, but is positive. Love is full of faith, not doubt.

Love isn’t negative, but these are four negative things that are not motivated by love. If these aren’t motivated by love, then what motivates these things? Answer: selfishness. Without God’s transforming love, we will behave foolishly, be selfish, be offended easily, and think suspiciously of others. Let’s be above that.




   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul now begins to describe God’s love from the point of caring in the body of Christ: “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Let’s unwrap each of these five illustrations of Godly love toward our neighbor:

1. “Love suffers long“. Suffering long means it is patient. Love doesn’t use you yourself as the standard for others, because its not all about you. Patience means we don’t push others beyond their capacity. God was patient with you in your early stages…be patient with others. Growth takes time.

2. “Love…is kind“. When you put patience to work, it isn’t rude when people do stupid things. We have a responsibility to represent Christ in a fallen world. So we shouldn’t be acting like the fallen world acts. There is no greater kindness than when Jesus went to the cross to pay for your sins. Let’s model kindness like that to others.

3. “Love envies not“. Envy is to be jealous of another. Since we’re all a part of the same body of Christ, when one succeeds or gets ahead, it makes the whole body look better and increases all of us. Envy is simply the desire to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others. Rather, we Christians are to be one another’s servant so the whole increases.

4. “Love vaunts not itself” To vaunt oneself is an attitude of pride. We boast of our accomplishments to make ourselves look bigger and more successful than we really are. It is spiritual arrogance. A proud man will never reach out to help someone else because he feels like he might lose something. But only when we give something away do we we truly get refilled by God’s Spirit. What are you giving away today?

5. “Love…is not puffed up“. To puff oneself up is another way to say, ‘vaunts oneself’. On my first mission trip to the Dominican Republic, there were two young men who walked through the neighborhoods like Pharisees in a Christian cartoon. They wore suits like Mormon missionaries and literally had their noses up in the air around others. They had puffed themselves up until no one wanted to be like them. They repelled others. Love doesn’t puff itself up, it becomes a servant.

These are practical examples of love and how it acts or doesn’t act. In the next several verses Paul continues this simple lesson on what God’s love looks like.




   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

Paul continues his thought with a third comparison: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). I’ve known people who lived sacrificial lifestyles, always sharing with the needy and having a reputation for being caring. When they really didn’t care at all. Like a politician kissing babies he really doesn’t like. Or a movie star serving the poor at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving.

The real test is what they do when the cameras stop rolling and the reporters go home. Then what do they do with their lives? Paul says it strongly, though I give all my possessions to feed or clothe the needy, or even if I make the ultimate sacrifice and give my life so that another may live, if I did it for selfish reasons, it was a waste. That Agape, sacrificial, unconditional love, is what benefits me.

Is it going too far to say that having genuine love, but not having anything to give but words, is more beneficial than giving my life savings or my life, without God’s love? Its all in the attitude. If we are going to effectively use spiritual or ministry gifts, there must be the motive of God’s love behind it. God’s love cares enough about people that it pays the debt for them. Your words can either keep people in debt or set them free. What will you say to people you meet today?

Agape love is described in detail in the next few verses. But, remember, the context of The Love Chapter is still spiritual gifts and how to serve others with power. Love unleashes that power.

Tags: ,



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Gifts

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Paul says in verse 2 a repeat of what he said in verse 1: without Agape love, all the spiritual and ministry gifts have no power.

He was not minimizing the gifts of prophecy, word of knowledge, or faith, but maximizing the importance of agape love in using these gifts. Because these gifts are not about us and how spiritual we can present ourselves. These gifts are how we love others as He has loved us. Loving others sometimes means we keep our mouths shut. Sometimes it means we wait. Sometimes it means we do what we would rather not do. It means caring when we’d rather not care. It means sacrificing when we’d prefer to harvest. Love means giving when we’d rather receive.

Love overshadows all the spiritual gifts with all their power. Love melts hard hearts, but must be manifested. Love that doesn’t take some action really isn’t love at all.

If a church has a lot of solid Bible teaching, but no love, people’s lives won’t be touched. If there are a lot of spiritual gifts moving in a local church, but lack of love keeps those gifts only within the church family, people’s lives won’t be changed.

Many Christians are always searching for more signs and wonders because they want a quick fix for their problems, but they never deal with the real issues. Its like one who hopes to win the big lottery but never deals with his/her own greed. So they never become rich nor content. Without love, “I am nothing“, Paul says.

How have you seen love demonstrated in our church? Tell us your story. How can you demonstrate love this week? Its more powerful than miracles!

Tags: , ,