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Thursday, January 12, 2017

2 Corinthians 5:14

"May The Love Of Jesus Fill Me"

Note: Last Sunday we concluded our church service with
"May The Mind of Christ My Savior", a hymn that is essentially a prayer. As I listened to the six stanzas I considered the prayer set to music would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We'll use a verse each day, although we'll double up one stanza tomorrow since there are six altogether. A link to the song is posted below. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard's tune. Today we will consider the blessing of sharing the love of God.

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"For Christ's love compels us" (2 Corinthians 5:14). "Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" (1 Thessalonians 2:8). "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing,
This is victory.

All over the world today God's love is being shared in a variety of ways. Amidst all the bad news and crumbling of the societal foundations, a constant remains, God's love for the human race. And His love is to be expressed through His people. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers, "Because we loved you so much." Genuine ministry is foundationally motivated by love.

Ten years ago we served in a church near Harrisburg Pennsylvania in an interim role. We met people that we are in contact with to this day and occasionally we try to get back and visit the people.

I enjoy asking others about their testimony of salvation and how it came about.  Marsha was a quiet young lady in the church who
operated the Sound System and Power Point program. I asked her one evening after the service to share her personal testimony of how she came to Christ.

She told me that when she was a small child she lived in a trailer park with her parents and younger brother. Their home was void of any Christian influence when she began attending the church at that time. I asked, "What led you to get involved in a church when you had no Christian background?" She pointed to an older couple in the front of the church and said, "Joe and Jessie picked us up on the church bus." *

Joe Carroll
Over twenty-five years earlier the pastor challenged the members of the congregation to reach out to others in winning their world for Christ. At that time a popular outreach was bus ministry where church members would reach neighborhoods for Christ by visiting, inviting and then bringing them by bus to church on Sunday mornings.  Joe Carroll had come to faith in Christ later in life when he was 49 years old. His wife, Jesse, prayed him into the kingdom just like so many Christian wives who have prayed over their husbands for years before they surrender to Christ.

Joe and Jessie, with a burden for the lost, decided that they would reach out together. Mobile home parks can be pretty rough places but one by one they visited the individual mobile homes, inviting the children to church. Joe would faithfully drive the bus to the trailer park each Sunday picking up Marsha and her younger brother.

They received training in the teachings of Christ through the various ministries of the church. Though twenty-five years had passed Marsha, now an adult, continued to be a part of this church.  Her younger brother lives in a nearby state and raises his family in the ways of the Lord. They continue to believe God for their family's salvation.
(Note: We attended the church last year and visited with Marsha and her mother who now attends as well!)

In our freshman year of Bible College Debbie Amstutz, a fellow student, wrote the theme song for our missions convention. It's based on the daily text and the powerful compelling nature of Christ's love. Brooksyne and I both consider this one of the formative songs that spoke to us personally about reaching others for Christ through vocational pastoral ministry.

Compelled by love to forfeit my own will,
Compelled by love to give and give and give;
When changes come to keep on loving still,
Compelled by love to love and live for Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14 As the apostle Paul wrote the first daily Scripture text he was indicating the supreme motive for the ministry of reconciliation: "For Christ's love compels us." We are to be compelled by Christ's love. The underlying Greek word translated "compels" has the sense of "the pressure which confines and restricts as well as controls." The present tense indicates the continual habit of life.

Today, millions and millions of believers, like Joe and Jessie, are faithfully serving the Lord. They are reaching out one by one, motivated supremely by the love of Christ. I (Brooksyne) remember Daddy packing our car so full with neighborhood children that he'd have to make two trips to the Sunday School we attended in West Tulsa. I'll be seeing one of those "children" this next summer. She told me a few years ago it was the many times she attended our church or a youth event that she found Christ as her Saviour and has raised her children to walk in the ways of Christ.
For the past year we very intentionally greet and welcome Chase, a kindergartner, who comes to church with a couple old enough to be his grandparents. He attended VBS over a year ago and enjoyed it so much he wanted to come to church regularly, and he does so, through the efforts of these caring neighborhood friends. In what way is the love of Christ compelling you today?

You see, it's a deep conviction of ours that most of the impact for Christ in this world is taking place in scores of little ways, not the big flashy ways that tends to get the attention.

This motivating love compelled Paul and his associates to declare, "We were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."

All over the world today Christians, often unheralded, are doing likewise and sharing God's love in a wide variety of ways including spiritual, compassion ministry, and medical care.

We encourage you to keep on sharing the love of God and telling what the Lord has done for you, so that Christ might increase as self decreases!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea; with Him exalting, my self-surrendering, this is truly victory. Like the apostle Paul I am delighted to share with others not only Your gospel but my life as well, giving of my time, my knowledge, sharing of my possessions and helping to bear the burdens of the weak, helpless, and discouraged, offering a lifting hand, sharing an encouraging word with one who needs to be uplifted. More of You and less of me is my heart's desire as I journey here below. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"PRAY"  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir I came across this song on our Arkansas friend Tommy Carpenter's Facebook page. Outstanding and moving lyrics and accompanying photos. Video on Facebook (a different version)

"May The Mind of Christ My Savior"  Video  Jake Amerding  (Vocal and acoustic)

"May The Mind of Christ My Savior"  Video  Congregational singing

"Compelled By Love"  Video  International Staff Songsters  (Salvation Army) This is not the same as the chorus we sang in Bible college but has a great message.

"No Other One"  Video  Debbie Amstutz went on to minister in music. One of her songs we enjoyed was "No Other One" she sang with Dallas Holm.

"Share His Love"  Video  Instrumental, unable to find a suitable vocal version.

"Love Was in the Room"  Video  Booth Brothers

"What Salvation's Done For Me"  Video  Booth Brothers

* "A Steady Testimony", Testimony of Joe Carroll

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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